Summer Hermit 2019/2020 Bonus Watching

After the success of embracing a hermit lifestyle last year over the Christmas+New Year break; I was all guns blazing to do it again this year. And it was great. My original plan was to hit up the local streaming sites and work through the things I’ve bookmarked there. But then my landlord broke the home WiFi network and that was out of the picture. So instead I decided to work through the “Backlog” folder I have on my laptop and in doing so managed to clear out near 200GB worth of bluray quality anime. While also playing games and reading books and such.

So lets get into it:

Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica

So I remember this when it came out as it was literally the season where I was introduced to anime. And I remember how when it came out everyone was creaming themselves over it. So while I really enjoyed it at the time (and talk about the… good(?) timing of the tsunami disaster meaning that after the ep10 Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magicareveal there was a two week delay on the rest of the show airing) given how many other popular shows are actually kind of garbage (Attack on Titan, SAO etc) I always had some reservations in my mind about how good this was. Holy shit were those reservations un-warranted. From the opening scene this show fucking grabs you as something is ominously off-kilter and you can’t really place what. And the tension just keeps building and building but you have no real idea why (you know, ignoring that you already know what is going on if you’ve not been under a rock all decade). Doing the rewatch I was surprised that the big twist in ep3 with Mami wasn’t at the very end of the episode as that would have really made the impact there even greater. And even though I knew it was coming the reveal in ep10 with Homura it still brought a few tears to the eyes. Of particular note was the use of the changing in art style and the awesome music during the witch encounters that really drove the excellent direction this series had. Also fuck Kyubey is such a conniving and sneaky little cunt, always there with his offer to make things better as things spiral more and more out of control. And as an aside, Sayaka’s wish really frustrated me- not because she was “wasting” it on someone else but because she wasted it with such a narrow scope. Like “fixing his hands” is such a waste of an all-powerful wish, there are broader ones she could have used that would fix his injury and then have more benefits for him and her. There’s not much more I can really say without being spoilery and even though this is nearly a 10 year old show I don’t want to spoil it- if you haven’t seen this show it should definitely be on the shortlist. Interestingly, with it fresh in my mind I want to rewatch the sequel movie (Movie 3, with 1+2 being remakes of the TV series) to see if it is still as fucked as I remember at undercutting the entire point of the TV series. As it is, I included Madoka in my Top 10 of the 2010s and am very happy I did so.

Angel Beats!

Angel Beats is another show I caught as I was discovering anime and for some reason I didn’t include it in my top 10 of the 2010s list. After rewatching it I feel that was maybe a mistake. To jump all the way to the end, at the end of the Angel Beats!penultimate episode I got really angry that the titular Angel wasn’t included in the group photo that the ED played over. Then in the last episode they changed the photo to include her. And my god did I start crying. God this show pulled at the heartstrings. Although that being said, I found episode 10 way harder to watch than the finale- because I remember the finale. The episode 10 (semi) self-contained story fucking had me bawling my eyes out with the maybe real world romance between Yui and guy-with-blue-hair (Hinata?). Also given I remembered the ending of this show, the atrocious bullying that Angel suffers at the hands of the SSS is also quite heart breaking. That being said there were a few things I didn’t like about this on the rewatch. Mainly the last few eps were super rushed and felt like a last minute change of direction to finish the show in 1-cour rather than 2. Like the random introduction  of the evil shadow monsters almost right after the Otonashi+Angel plan to make people move on starts just didn’t fit with the show. Like it was poised to shift from an ‘us vs them’ battle of SSS and Angel to a ‘make peace with yourself’ battle. Where I could see each of the characters who make up the SSS getting an episode to deal with their own unique problems and then move on. Instead we get this weird computer programmer related story and half the SSS characters who we see from episode 1 just disappear off screen. In particular I felt bad fro the bloke-who-swung-an-axe because he clearly was in love with Yuri but that was never dealt with and then he got to disappear off-screen even though Yui got a full episodefocused her and was introduced 3 episodes after purple-axe-man. Also there was the surprisingly ripped nerd guy with glasses who was corrupted by the evil programmer shadow things and then his story is finished with a casual line of ‘oh yeah, he got better and then moved on with internal happiness to’. And there’s also a ninja girl who likes cute things and is kind o an idiot who doesn’t get developed beyond those dot points and then also disappears off screen. Basically the way they handled the secondary characters was so inconsistent that most of them got really short changed. Also I entirely forgot about the Vice President arc before the rewatch. And when doing my initial write up. Shows how much it mattered in the end. But again, the Vice-President is one of the final 5 people who gets a big emotional moment at the end despite not being around for like, the first half of the show and not being super necessary to anything. Also the OVAs were a bit of a let down after the emotional rollercoaster and torrent of sadness the ending brought. One was placed way back near the start of the series and was just a bit of fun that seemed out of place knowing where it ended. And the other sort of tried to undo one of the big emotional beats of the finale by having Otonashi not move on. While this show was definitely fantastic, I reckon making it two-cour and letting the characters all develop and breath the same as ep10 did with Yui would have made it one of the best of all time. As it was it was just really good (and still probably one of the best of the 2010s)


Yet another show I originally watched when I was first finding out about anime, this is probably the first one from that era of watching that I’ve revisted and had it go down in my esteem. Don’t get me wrong, it is great. Episode 19 (the Toradora!Christmas episode) had me bawling my eyes out. But goddamn, Minorin is objectively best girl and best person and the fact that Taiga gets Ryuji in the end infuriates me. To the point where I’m accepted as head cannon the Minorin x Ami lesbian love story idea because the idea of Minorin ending up sad and along is unacceptable. I just really don’t like Taiga as a person and think that Ryuji really deserves someone better.  One thing that I did love in the rewatch was the unexpected emotional beats of Yasuko (Ryuji’s Mum) and her parents reconciling after… 17(?) years since she ran away from home coz she didn’t want to abort her child. Same with the (sort of) love story between Kitamura and the Student Council President. Plus the bit where Inko successfully says it’s own name was surprisingly awesome (as was Yasuko’s reaction to it). But yeah, while this is a really enjoyable show and I do recommend people do watch it, I think the titular Taiga really undermines it by being such a bad and useless person. Also the music (OPs and EDs) are really fucking good.

Fate Zero (S1+S2)

Damn this show is fantastic. Combined with the UBW series this is the first half of the only good storyline in the entire Nasuverse in my opinion (Heavens Feel is still TBD depending on the last movie). I remember at a recent Fate/ZeroGAMMA.CON panel some idiot said that Kiritsugu was not a relatable/enjoyable protagonist. They are so fucking wrong, he is True Neutral to the extreme (somehow) and that makes it really interesting e.g. how he takes out Lord El-Melloi. And a great contrast with (ironically) his ‘son’ Shirou in Fate Stay who’s all about doing good/justice. Especially when interacting with Irisviel and Saber on his own side and opposing Kirei Kotomine. Plus there’s the awesome Rider and Waver stuff going on which is a great little ‘discovering who you really are’ arc for Waver and ‘getting the respect of your enemies’ for Rider from Gilgamesh. Plus the differing philosophies on how to be a King from Saber, Rider and Gilgamesh. There’s also some great fights- the Caster storyline was a bit weak but I was surprised that the climatic battle in it took three whole episodes. And they were good episodes. I also eno=joyed how they used the Caster storyline to do the mandatory Rin Tohsaka fan-service but made it not dumb or jarring or over staying its welcome. Plus I really liked ho in the anime Rin saves her friend form being mutilated and murdered by a serial killer, apparently in the novel she doesn’t. Also fuck me it is crazy that Kotomine gave Rin the dagger he used to murder her father as a symbol of her becoming a mage. That being said, Kirei’s heel-turn and betrayal of Tokiomi Tohsaka felt kind of forced and didn’t make a lot of sense. Like, I know it needed to happen to get Kotomine in place for Fate Stay but I just didn’t super buy it as being plausible for the character they set him up as in the beginning. On the rewatch I was surprised how early that betrayal came and even more surprised that the Kariya-Sakura stuff lasted all the way to the finale. Poor Kariya, literally dying and falling into the rapey-magic-worm-pit as he was about to ‘rescue’ Sakura… who after he died it was revealed had been completely broken and wouldn’t have gone with him anyway. I also found it odd that Kariya strangled Rin/Sakura’s Mum… but then she didn’t actually die, she just got crippled… I don’t recall Rin’s Mum being wheelchair bound and mentally handicapped being a plot point in Fate Stay. But maybe it is a thing. Oh and the music in the series is so good.

Alderamin on the Sky

This was a pretty average show that honestly I only half watched on Christmas Day while cleaning and rearranging my statue/figure collection. I found it really interesting how they established an attractive, intelligent girl to be part of the Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no AlderaminMC’s harem and then killed her off-screen due to inept military decision by the ‘good guy’ commanders.  Very atypical. I also do like the general concept of a lazy as fuck guy trying to avoid work (as that is very relatable) and at one point showing up the crazy hard working enemy commander by working smarter rather than harder. I do wish there was more of this show as it ends with a big ‘our journey has just begun’ as the princess tasks the MC with saving the nation by destroying it by becoming the main military commander and deliberately losing a war but not losing it too badly. But it is clearly an advertisement for the original manga/novel/whatever where you have to go read the original to get the rest of the story. Well, probably not the rest as it probably won’t finish but you’ll get more of the story.

Death March

As with Alderamin of the Sky, this was a pretty Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyokuharmless show that I started a rewatch of like… 18 months ago… but didn’t finish. So after finishing Alderamin I jumped in on this again and knocked it over in a couple hours. It’s a pretty harmless and forgettable Isekai. But I do like how it isn’t focused on the MC being the greatest fighter of all time but on being more well rounded e.g. developing skills and economic trade and picking up a wide variety of girls for his harem. But honestly this show is so un-edgy there’s like nothing really worth commenting on…

Uhh… there was some physics lessons about water and states of matter which was different?


This was a really odd one to rewatch. For the first six episodes I decided that I wasn’t enjoying this and I’d drop it. But I forced mysel to keep watching as I Katanagatariremembered that it was a very different show when it first aired and a bloke I know constantly raves about how good and unique it is. I think the super long episodes were the issue for me- especially given how dense yet slow they were. But it did have an oddly interesting art style and animation. In the end I would watch an episode, watch something else for a while and then come back to it. I found the way the main characters interacted and grew really interesting. Less so was the concept of super swords that weren’t swords, like the ‘swords’ included a suit of armour, a pair of guns, a piece of metal that was super heavy and a solar powered spider robot. I liked how the hyped up the greatest swordsman in early eps and then had him be defeated off-screen while we followed the sister’s story. Where she fucked up 1/4 of the Maniwa Ninja corps. I vaguely remembered there being 12 Maniwani ninjas and expected to have one die each episode. Which is accurate up to ep 3 or 4. Then they get massacred and there’s only 3 left by the halfway point. And they’re all dead before the finale. There was also a twist with Togame at the very end that I didn’t expect which was pretty exciting to see play out. But then there was another sort-of-twist in the very final scene/epilogue that just seemed silly and kind of undercut much of the Togame-Shichika development. I think Katanagatari is worth a watch but I wouldn’t put it high on people’s lists. Again, some pretty good music although it has an unusual amount of vocals which kept making me think I had some random browser tab or other program playing audio.

My Teen SANFU (S1+S2 “Zoku”)

To my surprise, the very opening sequence, like pre-OP of ep1, was such a struggle to get through (very much like Watamote) that I nearly gave up on the rewatch instantly. But I remembered just loving this show and persevered. Which was a great call on S1, it was fantastic. Hachiman being uncannily accurate with how he reads people and situations and gets to the solution of their school-aged-based problems is equal parts hilarious and bitter-sweet-depressing. In particular with the final arc where he reads the situation of the Cultural Committee President both in the lead up to the festival and on the Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa when she disappears and he calls he out on her bullshit is executed brilliantly. Basically embodies every mid-tier workers dream of calling out their idiot boss. However it really irked me how the other characters in the show receive Hachiman’s actions so negatively. I fully buy that to the wider school community he is a complete weirdo and jerk who no-one likes. But by their nature of being characters in the show, in particular the ones in his class, the people who are involved with the problems and issues he solves get the full picture of the situation and how his solution is, well, correct. Especially when there are characters who see past it and get Hachiman- Totsuka, Komachi etc. Hayoto especially irks me as he’s clued in enough to see the same meta-factors Hachiman is and his overly negative (and borderline violent) reaction to Hachiman’s actions just doesn’t play right. I presume that in part of the story yet to be animated the situation there is elaborated in on a way that makes it all make sense. One small joke I foound really fnny was in the camp-councellor arc when the pretty/popular/dumb blonde girl’s solution to one of the kid sbeing bullied was “why doesn’t she just go make friends”. As someone who was not in the popular circle of kids at school it just really rang true about how people who have others wanting to be their friends (popular, pretty people) don’t get how hard making friends can be. On the flip side, I found the escalating joke of Totsuka being an incredibly pretty, feminine boy wore itself off quite quickly. While the borderline siscom-brocom joke between Hachiman and Komachi stayed on the right side of the border to be quite funny. Especially in the OV where it was played as if she was basically his wife yet at the end they had a really touching (but brief on screen and played for laughs) moment where he consoled her as her elder brother after she was bullied/terrified by a teacher… well… look if I explain the situation is gets too complicated. Just go watch the OVA I guess. I was surprised with the S1 rewatch that there was such a focus on Yuigahama over Yukinon. In my memory I’d thought that Yukinon had always been the main female lead/focus/potential love interest. As a fan of Yuigahama I very much enjoyed that part of S1.

I don’t have any particular notes from S2 other than being surprised that I Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zokufound it a step down from S1. I think the larger focus in Yukinon and her stupid/explained family situation emphasized to me how she wasn’t really  a good person but where Hachiman was selflessly bad she was selfishly bad. Like S1 ends with an unresolved plot thread of how Yukinon’s car had been the one to run over Hachiman and hospitalise him, thus putting him on the out socially at school. But that isn’t brought up once in all of S2. Instead we get a drawn out inter-club conflict between Hachiman and Yukinon that is incredibly silly given how they have both been shown to thinkk/solve problems previously. Although the introduction of Iroha and her increasing number of unasked-for-confession-rejections was amusing. (I’m really struggling with this one, it’s been a while since I watched it and  didn’t write down any specific points about it)

Love Hina

This has been on my ‘I should watch this at one stage because it’s a foundational part of modern anime’ list for years now. I’m not a super big fan of Love Hinaharems or lazy ecchi shows and that is basically what it is. I mean, when it came out 20 years ago it was revolutionary stuff for young boys everywhere. It’s the granddaddy of those genres. But it is pretty lackluster with a modern viewing. Kind of. It’s weird. Like, there is SOMETHING in here that makes me want to keep watching it even though none of the obvious components are worth watching- concept, characters, storyline, art, animation etc. The OP song is a surprisingly good banger tune though. I watched four or five episodes and while at some point during every episode I wanted to close it and do something else, but the end I was keen to start the next one. Unlike the prior shows I’ve talked about, I am yet to finish this show. So I’m going to keep at it and watch episodes every now and then when I have time or when it suits (likely as something to watch just before going to bed). Will see if I have more concrete thoughts on it if/when I finish or drop it.


This was unwatchable. Bad idea/concept, bad art, bad animation, bad dialogue. Was presumably sexy and horny back in 2003 but I couldn’t finish an episode.


This show was also entirely unwatchable. But where Ikkitousen was boring and stupid, this was far too painfully real as it perfectly articulated all of the worst bits about nerds and anime fans and their being-a-fucked-human. I dunno how anyone can watch this without feeling super awkward as it basically shows how trash you/your friends/people who like the things you like are. And not in a fun, self-deprecating way. In a really mean way.

School Rumble + Nichijou

I don’t have a lot to say about either of these shows, other than that my reaction to them both was the same. I would watch one episode and it was hilarious. Then I would try to immediately binge another episode afterwards and find my attention drifting. Given they are both comedies of the same style, that being little shorts and funny self-contained segments without (so far) any long form storytelling or character development, I came to the conclusion that these are not “bingeable” shows and need to be consumed piecemeal over time. So like Love Hina I’m hopefully going to catch the odd episode here and there over time and eventually finish them. Or drop them. I found this reaction particularly interesting for Nichijou given how much my anime-fan friends rave about it being one of the greatest meta-comedies of all time. It very well could be but I would have thought it’d be more all consuming and irresistible if it was.

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

Now for some reason despite writing down notes about this show three or four times in my little note file, I apparently didn’t manage to save them properly or deleted it repeatedly or something. I dunno. Very frustrating. I Magi: The Labyrinth of Magicactually started watching this show maybe 1-2 years ago at my local anime club but then missed a heap of episodes and gave up. But it was pretty interesting so I decided to give it another crack. And while it wasn’t amazing, it was good enough for me to start downloading the sequel and prequel to watch more. It’s a very fascainting world and the characters are pretty interesting. But I found it really struggled with the transitions between arcs. I dont know why but at the start of each new arc I found my desire to keep watching just plummet. But once each arc got cracking it was fanastic- the first one in the dungeon with Alibaba helping out Morgianna establishes the world really well, the third one where they’re in Balbadd (with a cliche revelation about Alibaba) does a fantastic job interplayin  physical/magical battles and political ones. The stuff with Sinbad is weird to start with but really pays off in the end. My main dislike in the show was the Kaseem character who was frankyl an irredeemable fuckwit (depsite what the show tried to do with him) and the fact Alibaba kept going back to Kaseem and fucking himself up/over by doing so was really stupid. Also it is absolute fucking bullshit that Hakuryuu becaome the master/owner/partner of the Djinn Zagan when Alibaba did 100% o the work clearing the dungeon and was almost literally carrying Hakuryuu through it ater Hakuryuu had proven to be completely useless and inept. But across the 25 episodes the set up did set up a bunch of cool longer plots that I want to se resolved- what’s the deal with Aladdin?And with the dungeons? What’s going to happen with their nations wanting to resist the Kou Empire etc.

Summer 2019 Anime Wrap Up Review and extras

Summer 2019 Season

Overall this was pretty disappointing season for me. But I wonder if it was because the season itself was bad or if I made it seem relatively bad by rewatching some older shows which were really fun.



Fruits Basket– I’m fairly sure I Fruits Basket 1st Seasontouched on this in a previous blog but I was really worried about this remake as the original from circa 2001 has a special place in my heart. But goddamn this show was fantastic. I cried every episode for a big stretch because of the emotional magic being weaved as the characters experienced new things and grew. The only bad thing I have to say about this show is that I have to wait for the second half in several months time.

Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo: a fantastic show looking at the “joys” of puberty through the lens of five young girls in a smutty school literature club. Was really refreshing and interesting to see the Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo.ideas of sexual desire and horniness (hornyness?) and attraction to others from a female perspective. It’s not something that is common in media and it’s especially weird coming from a conservative a place as Japan. I found that the five protagonists had varying levels of ROI for the time invested in them. In particular I found I really didn’t like the President’s storyline. Meanwhile I found the storylines for the wannabe manga artist and the “hottie” performer really varied; some episodes they were great and other episodes were a struggle. In particular the bits where, respectively, a teacher really fucked the student-teacher boundary in one and there was a legitimate paedophile in the other were not great. The childhood friend romance character’s storyline (arguably the main story) was pretty great the whole way through. I was disappointed with the last character because… well… nothing really happened with her storyline. They randomly tried to wedge in a lesbian angle but it seemed really ham-fisted.  They touched a bit on how fucked boys could be in it but it didn’t really go anywhere. But some of the best parts of the show was where the characters and storylines overlapped and intersected. Really good. Arguably the show peaked about an episode early due to some poor pacing and half of the last episode was just stretching for time. But this is the only one-cour show from this season worth watching.Machikado Mazoku

Machikado Mazoku– this was a fun show, but I’d only recommend it to people who are pretty big fans of the Magical Girl genre. It’s a comedy version of that where we follow the “evil” demon side of a magical girl vs demon fight. And their incredible streak of bad luck in their efforts to get enough power to fight the magical girl at their school. Some friends of mine say the jokes got a bit too repetitive but I didn’t find that a noticeable issue.

UchiMusume– a very niche trope of a show: single bloke adopts a small female child and raises her as a single parent. To, presumably, marry her as an adult when they realise they love each other *in that way*. Uchi no Ko no Tame naraba, Ore wa Moshikashitara Maou mo Taoseru kamo Shirenai.Fortunately the show doesn’t cover that much of the story. So we just get the heartwarming story of a young bloke discovering the joys of parenthood and children. With the twist being this is a fantasy world and the Dad is an OP adventurer, while the Daughter is an abandoned demon child. A very fun but ultimately forgettable show. Apparently it butchered a story arc to do with the demon girl experiencing racism at her new school but who has time to read manga to see if that’s true. A few bits were overplayed (e.g. the level of love various small animals have for the demon daughter) but it was overall a fun show to watch.


HenSuki– I loved this show ironically the begiKawaikereba Hentai demo Suki ni Natte Kuremasu ka?n with as a piece of art. It was literally a hentai but minus all the actual nudity and sex. It was so weird. All the characters, the outfits, the ‘story’, the camera shots, the voices… all screamed hentai. But it was a broadcast TV show. Then as I kept watching I think I legitimately started to enjoy the detective mystery: who left their panties with the confession letter to the MC? And why?! The answer/ending was kind of obvious in the broad sense but the specific detail was quite unexpected. But yeah, dunno if this show could be called “good” or even “respectable enough to admit you watched it”

DanMachi S2– this was a disappointing sequel. Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka IIThe pacing was so weird, the first arc was squashed into 3-4 episodes when it probably needed 5 episodes to be coherent. While the middle arch was stretched over 6-7 episodes when really it only had 5 episodes of content. And then there was a random arc jammed into the last two episodes which was basically just rushed world building to try set up the next three seasons of storylines. Also despite the name I think they spend about two minutes in the titular Dungeon, and half to that was a post credit scene in the last episode. Also the rampant slut shaming that made up the middle arc was pretty fucked. And then the random line that made it all ok coz ‘the prostitute girl had never had sex and was still a virgin so she’s still ok and clean’ (paraphrasing) was incredibly fucked. Also the weird fat shaming where they made the one fat woman comically stupid and evil for no reason. Such a disappointing sequel, it makes me wonder whether the original show was actually good… especially given how average the movie was.

Given– a rare exception to the ‘all anime Givento do with music is garbage’ rule, while I enjoyed the show while watching each episode, as the weak progressed I was less and less motivated to actually watch each episode. To the point that I stopped watching with two episodes to go for no real reason and only finished them just so I could wrap up this blog. Is an interesting boy-on-boy love story through the lens of a band with a friend’s suicide pre-series really fucking one of the MCs up. And the music is actually tolerable, decent even. I suspect I will finish this at some point


Kimetsu no Yaiba– a young guy yells a lot Kimetsu no Yaibawhile swinging his water magic sword to kill demons and save his demon sister. I am assured this show is actually the greatest thing ever and around episode 18 has one of the most beautiful battle scenes ever committed to screen. However I didn’t really care. After an interesting training arc we were given basically monster of the week episodes that then led into “oh there are 12 general you’ll need to face before fighting the main guy and there’s no way this is getting done within the 24 episode series”. The world was interesting but I found all the characters to beVinland Saga obnoxious and/or predictable. Maybe I’ll finish it on my iPad while running on a treadmill at the gym or something.

Vinland Saga– the opening arc of this was fantastic, if a little unrealistic with how insanely strong Thors was. But once Thors was killed (in a pretty bull shit way) and it switched to his son it was stupid. I can only put up with two episodes of whiny, rage filled teenage boy but that kept fucking going.

Kanata no Astra– this show wasn’t so muchKanata no Astra bad as it was clearly just Lost in Space but anime this time. And I’ve already been fucked over by Lost in Space not having an adequate finish twice so I wasn’t game enough to get invested in this. Apparently it has a really well handled character arc of one person being gender-fluid but once it was confirmed to me that the show ends with them still, well, lost in space I decided to not get invested in this.

Dr Stone– everyone is frothing over this show and I am strongly told that it gets fantastic after the first arc. To the poinDr. Stonet I may go back and look at it. My specific problem was the MC being an arrogant jerk who said ‘10,000%’ too often for a science guy and the three initial side characters were idiots. Like one of them literally punched a lion to death in one blow, but then couldn’t kill another character in a fight even though that character refused to fight back. Also they went to resurrect a girl and got all immodest about seeing her nude, which really doesn’t seem like a priority given their situation. I’m assured by multiple people that the starting arc is the worst part of the story and a few episodes after the point I dropped it the annoying characters literally fuck off to go do some long term mission and way better characters replace them. But I don’t Granbelmhave the time or inclination to see if they’re telling the truth, maybe some day in the future.

Granbelm– this show should be my bread and butter having magical girls and mechs. But for some reason it didn’t quite click for me. The story was just not quite engaging, the characters weren’t quite there, the general world was slightly off somehow, the art and animation were (presumably) not super great. Allegedly it has an excellent moment of emotional pay off circa ep10 so maybe I’ll give it another chance in the future.

Joshikousei no Mudazukai– this just remindeJoshikousei no Mudazukaid my of Daily Lives of Highschool Boys and how that was way better. But maybe this is a Guren Lagann vs Kill la Kill thing where as a dude I just naturally like the male version of this concept. The thing I found particularly grating was the opening gag of each episode being a) not that funny in the execution and b) identical in every episode.

Lord El-Melloi II Case Files– the first episode of this was great because it reminded me of Fate Zero and how cool Iskandar was. Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo: Rail Zeppelin Grace NoteAnd how great Waver’s character arc was thanks to Iskandar. But then it became a fairly typical detective mystery show… with the exception that unlike a normal detective story there is no fucking way any human viewer could actually piece together the solution. More evidence to my the theory that the further you get away from the Zero+UBW “main” storyline in the Nasuverse; the worse the thing is (noting that Zero wasn’t actually written by Nasu).



Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru- low quality ecchi combined with incorrect advice for going to the gym.

Enen no Shouboutai- people seemed to froth over this but I found the characters simultaneously one-dimensional/boring and way over the top. Especially the ‘I frown when I’m happy’ MC. Was a bit inconsistent with how bad these fire things were and the capacity of the Fire Force to effectively fight them. Also I’m 99% sure the church is somehow responsible for the fire demon problems.

Cop Craft- generic fantasy combined with a generic buddy cop twist with a generous layering of horrific animation

Isekai Cheat Magician- the epitome of the horror of the isekai craze, SAO has much to answer for

Maou-sama, Retry- episode 2 was interesting (after a meh first episode). The idea of a competent but not OP person in an isekai is definitely my favourite iteration of the genre. But then ep3 it introduced some stupid character switcheroo thing which replaced the MC with an abhorrently annoying alternative and it was immediately dropped for idiocy

Nakanohito Genome [Jikkyouchuu]- this was just weird. And it was such a poorly executed concept- they had to get their livestream to hit a certain number of total views… which means they could just sit back and wait for it to happen. Would have made more sense if they had to hit a (absurdly high) number of concurrent viewers before they could escape to their home world

Okaa-san Online- probably the most trash thing ever made as an Isekai. The idea of having to live in an isekai game world with a parent who is shit at games is a fairly related ‘horror’ version of the genre. But having the parent be a) OP as fuck and b) insanely sexualised and c) a moron completely wasted this great idea.

Sounan desu ka- an interesting idea, four people stranded on an island, made great by the fact one of the characters has Megumi from Saekano’s voice. Then ruined by the characters being boringly absurd and the Megumi voice not being the MC.

Tejina-senpai- dumb, poor quality echhi ruining magic tricks.


Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou: I was hoping this might be an edgy version of DanMachi, maybe something like Grimgar x Made in Abyss. It was just bad. Incoherent story with huge bits being skipped, unlikable characters (including a big titted [tittied? titty-ed?] rabbit girls who’s character trait was wetting herself in terror). I actually dropped this show and then picked up a random episode because I thought people were lying about it: they introduce a dragon girl character who is brought into the building harem by having the MC anally violate her with a massive pole (and then beat the shit out of the pole) which triggers her masochism. It’s fucked.

Gym Extras

As mentioned previously, I discovered I could stream anime on my iPad while working out and running on treadmills. And because I’m too cheap to give any streaming service money, I’m using this as an opportunity to rewatch shows or check out things I’d heard were good but not got around to.


Re:Zero– This show has such a strong opening two arcs (initial reincarnation and the mansion stuff) and fantastic closing arcs (white whale and witches cult). Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai SeikatsuBut fuck me the middle stretch of episodes is literally unwatchable. Subaru goes from being a likeable MC who is gaining understanding of his ability and the world around him to a complete fuckwit who is actively fucking everything up for everybody around him despite him having already learnt things and dealt with things in previous arcs which make his ridiculous choices make no coherent sense. I really loved rewatching this and getting hyped for future stuff in the world but I recommend giving a hard pass to (approx) episodes 10/11 to ep 16/17. They’re unwatchably bad.

Boku wa Tomodachi S1 + S2 (“Next”) aka ‘Haganai’- peeling back the curtain a bit, Sena in this show was my first hardcore waifu so I have some strong nostalgia glasses for this show. Boku wa Tomodachi ga SukunaiThat being said, I think that S1 is still a legitimately awesome piece of TV, the mix of comedy with the very real feelings of loneliness and struggling to make friends and live the “typical” school live is fantastic. The only “bad” part is that Yozora is legitimately an awful person. Given she’s one of the two main heroines for the MC that’s terrible. Sena, and the rest of the girls who are technically also potential love interests, all mean well and want to try help each other and improve themselves. And they’re just naive idiots. But Yozora is an obstinate bully and a bit of a cunt to the others, Sena in particular, which makes her really unlikeable. But given I ‘stan’ Sena, I’m fine with that. S2 unfortunately didn’t hold up as well for me. Some of the comedy got a bit tired and while the Rika character arc was probably the best arc of any character in the whole show; the massive turn in the last couple eps and the idiotic twist, cliff hanger end was atrocious. Although I did like the little story that was told in the mid-episode pre/post ad break clips as the episodes. All up, I would recommend people go back to check it out.

Kokoro Connect– despite some of theKokoro Connect absolutely (and ironically) fucked behind the scenes action that accompanied the production of this show, I really liked it. It mixes up the body swap trope in some interesting ways and has some really emotional moments as the characters have to confront each other and themselves about their issues. In particular the arc where Heartseed make Iori jump of a bridge after confessing to/with Taichi and the consequences of that were heartbreaking. I only could watch the first 13 eps through a streaming service which is a bit frustrating since I know there are four more out there that Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Kenwrap up the story. A very strong recommendation, the music is also quite good.

I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying S1+S2– a fantastic comedy/romance short about an otaku guy and his normal wife. Mainly from the perspective of the wife. It’s almost sickeningly sweet but manages to pull of being so wholesome. Absolutely loved it. Even the ED song is super cute.

Sweetness & Lightning– the only negatively received rewatch this season, when I first watched this is was a lovely story about a father cAmaama to Inazumaonnecting with his daughter through the avenue of cooking (after the recent death of his wife/her mother) while a shy student of his deals with that and her disconnected family situation. This time is was much slower and less wholesome than I remembered. Dunno why it didn’t land this time around. I think I just got shitty at a small child throwing tantrums and people not communicating clearly so problems escalated when they should have been easily resolved.

New things:

Bodacious Space Pirates– the name of this absolutely put me off when combined with the image of a female dominate cast. Mouretsu PiratesI thought it’d be a horrible ecchi set in space. I’m honestly not 100% sure why I thought I’d give it a crack this time. Turns out it’s actually a pretty funny slice of life combined with a pretty solid sci-fi setting and an action packed story. Some of the gags where thin (like Chiaki’s ice cream love or the songs used to summon the pirate ships) but they’re pretty small jokes. But the characters are unique and interesting, as is the world of these quasi-organised and sanctioned “pirate activities”. The building of stakes as the story progressed happened at a really good point too. That said, it isn’t anything that’ll blow your socks off. This is a ‘if you have time and/or life sci-fi and comedy, check it out’ recommendation.

Beyond the Boundary S1– I remember trying to watch this years ago but couldn’t get past the first episode. I’m not sure why. It’s KyoAni and it looks fantastic. And the set up for the story is really good. Kyoukai no KanataIn fact, the whole season’s story is really good. The characters are great, the comedy is funny, the action is spectacular (even on a shitty iPad screen). This was a really fun show to watch and I’m annoyed I didn’t watch it earlier when it was coming out and people were frothing over it. Although I didn’t feel the urge to jump into any sequel stuff straight away, which interestingly was the same with another KyoAni show I recently watch ‘Love, Chunibyo & other delusions’ so maybe that’s a trend I should look into a bit more. Although I liked Beyond the Boundary more that Chunibyo. Very much recommend and I plan to hit more in the franchise at some stage.

Psychopass Extended– This is a re-broadcast version of Psychopass S1 which, as far as I can tell, is just making it into eleven 44 minute episodes rather than twenty two 22 minute episodes. Psycho-PassAlthough I’m sure they’ve tweaked bits and pieces throughout. It’s been so long since I saw Psychopass stuff. And this was fucking fantastic. The extra length episodes let them compile the different incidents into single episodes while still building up into the larger Mashima villain arc. Mostly. In some parts the longer episodes has a plotline finish mid ep and then starts on something unrelated which was a bit jarring. I’m still gutted over what happens to Kagari in the middle of the season. And I want to see a satisfying continuation/resolution to Akane and Kogami’s story… the movie doesn’t count. Nor does the misstep that was S2. I very much recommend checking this out.


Random shit I’ve watched, anime and not.Youjo Senki Movie

Youjo Senki Movie– really fun watching this show move past WW1 in this alternative universe and make it’s way to a WW2 (in a world where Germany didn’t lose WW1… and there is magic…). Watching Tanya fuck up the Russian Communists was very enjoyable. And running through that entire campaign (I assume) as a feature length film rather than 4-6 TV eps worked really well in terms of being a coherent and well paced storyline.

Masamane-kun no Revenge OVA– a thing that randomly dropped into my lap. Masamune-kun no Revenge OVAWasn’t particularly great but I wonder how much of that is due to me barely remembering the show. The weird scene where the MCs Mum, Aunt and Cousin all hit on him coz they look identical was quite weird. Probably worth steering clear of unless you’re into the show and remember it quite well.

Re:zero Memory Snow OVA– one of the reasons I wanted to rewatch Re:Zero was to get me ready for this. I needn’t of bothered. I think I managed about 3 minutes before I started skipping ahead, realised there was Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu - Memory Snownothing interesting about the background piece into Puck and Emilia so I stopped watching it. And it was Subaru setting up his date with Emilia which 100% did not need a 50 minute special to go into intricate detail… at least if you don’t need to get dating advice from anime…

Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken OAD 2– this was boring. Some bad jokes about a female character being a terrible cook. And a very tenuous excuse for a beach scene (even by anime standards). That’s it. (No picture for this one because it was a hassle to try fit it in. Just imagine all the acharcters in bikinis and swimsuits.

Australian Survivor S4: Champions vs Contender 2a shockingly good piece of television despite my misgivings over the repeated theme relying on C-list celebrities to gain viewers. Even more shocking when you consider that half the players (Contenders) played the game terribly while the other half (Champions) basically didn’t play at all. But this meant that the handful of people actually playing were able to manipulate some fantastic moves (and some got picked off along the way), leading to probably the best final 6 ever. The final episode was over at the halfway point as it was clear that the person who won final immunity was just choosing who they would lose to in the final vote. I’m also not a fan of the general reliance over strength and/or endurance in the challenges throughout the show. It makes it quite boring having effectively the same challenge happen over and over with the same results. Although there were a few unique ones in there, I suspect the requirement for a challenge every second day (compared to US Survivor) for a longer amount of time on a smaller budget (again, compared to US Survivor) is the culprit behind the repetitive challenges. Was also some very dodgy editing e.g. splicing together clearly disparate sentences into “confessionals”, the “controversy” over Pia’s immunity win, Simon Black’s entire time on the island. Also got annoyed at the people who were complaining over there being no reunion while also creaming themselves over the (very premature) All Stars Season and… actually I’m going to stop here because I really liked this season but the more I think about it the more problems I’m thinking of.

Bachelor Australia S?– I dunno what season this was up to. 7 maybe? Was the one with the Astrophysicist. This show has jumped the shark as very clearly only 1 or 2 of the girls were buying into the idea of ‘looking for love’ and the rest were very clearly there to cause drama, get ratings and/or launch media careers. Was one “shock” moment when the front runner farm girl was sent home a few episodes before the end. But I was honestly more concerned by a) the 100% focus on sexual chemistry by one person being presented as legit love and b) the amount of slut shaming directed at that person by both viewers and other cast members. Pretty fucked.

Banshee S1- a pretty good… drama(?) show about a Banshee Posterdude released from prison who ends up impersonating a sheriff in some back water county town and has various run ins with both the law and criminals. Which he solves very much not by the book. While also pursuing his estranged ex who is the daughter of a Ukranian mobster living under a pseudonym with a family who don’t know her history. Honestly the only thing I don’t like about it is that it is very dated to that era of TV of ‘game of thrones is super big, lets throw in heaps of unnecessary naked chicks to get ratings’. Although there was one scene where a naked chick was receiving oral from her huUnREAL Postersband so I guess that’s empowering… sort of…

UnREAL S1– a good dramatisation of the behind the scenes shit that makes shows like the Bachelor although I was expecting it to be a documentary of the behind the scenes shit that actually DOES make up the Bachelor. It was pretty fun although if you don’t like shows like Bachie I don’t think you’ll get much out of it.

Better Call Saul S4– I tried watching this a couple times when it came out but it just didn’t click. I randomly tried it again (assuming it would suck and I could delete it off my computer) but suddenly it worked. Better Call Saul PosterAnd it was fantastic. This show goes from strength to strength. In particular I really liked the storyline with Mike and how that ended up playing out. Would have liked a bit more of the drug cartel stuff from Nachos perspective. Or maybe a bit of better integration of the storylines- it seemed like we’d get 3 episodes that focused on two storylines, then one of thsose storys would be dropped and a third would come in for three more eps. Then the one that had gone for six eps would be forgotten so the one that was dropped at ep 3 could come back for three more eps while the third kept going. (That description makes sense in my head). basically some characters and storylines would just disspapear for episodes at a time and it felt a bit weird. But otherwise I highly recommend this series, although I acknowledge that it doesn’t work for everyone and you need to be in the headspace for a slow burn show.

The Boys– if you’re sick of the Marvel and DC and general superhero mania craze, this is for you. A great take down of what would happen in the real world if superheroes existed- they’d be commercialized and become corrupt (and inept) as fuck. Karl Urban was great in this and from literally the opening scene it does a great job telling you exactly what this show will be doing. Even the awkward stuff like sexual harassment/assault in the workplace is dealt with in a really effective way. And the mixing of brutal gore with comedy is done incredibly well. Interesting to see that they’ve gone in a different direction that the comic books with some details, especially towards the end (allegedly, I obviously haven’t read them). Looking forward to S2 when it inevitably happens.


Spring 2019 Anime Wrap Up Review and some extra stuff

Gonna be a short one today I suspect. There were only a handful of shows I watched and only a handful of those were actually worth watching.

There was an obvious trend this season of shows having interesting premises and good opening episodes but then falling off a cliff towards the end. Hardly a new thing but for whatever reason there was a higher than normal amount of it amongst the things that I watched.


Hitoribocchi no Marumau Seikatsu– this show seemed to be based on trolling western audiences based on the names of all the characters. But it was a pretty funny slice of life gag show that had good character development as the show progressed. Some of the jokes wore a bit thin but overall the comedy stayed pretty good as new characters shook up the dynamics of the jokes. Probably not worth a rewatch but a great one to check out once.

Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai– a reasonably funny harem with the odd twist that there is clearly a best girl (Fumino) who is also the only one not head over heals for MC-kun almost immediately. Was basically a better execution of 5-toubun no Hanayome from one season earlier. The loli girl was a bit on the nose in my opinion but I’m pleasantly shocked that a second series has already been announced. Now I just want a second season of Devil is a Part Timer.

Senryuu Shoujo– probably the stand out of the season, a classic high school romance where one of the characters only communicates via written senryuu poems. My only knock is that at the very end of the season, despite a heap of build up and action in the final few episodes, the characters didn’t really end up in a different position compared to where they started. At best they’d moved maybe half a step forward but I would have liked it to be a bit more conclusive.


One Punch Man S2– despite what all the angry weebs are saying about this, I don’t actually care about the drop in animation quality compared to S1. Yes it’s not as good but honestly it’s still fine. As evidenced by the story of how One Punch Man became popular enough to get an anime, top quality art isn’t it’s strength. It’s the peculiar insanity of the premise and story. And my biggest issue is with that- in particular the huge absence of the titular One Punch Man for the majority of the show. There was more time spend teasing him fighting in the martial arts tournament than he was actually fighting in it. Such that a one episode amount of story content was spread over most of the season. And then one of his fights was off screen (to comic effect which I liked) and the other was like the last two minutes of the final episode. Speaking to people who have read the manga/webcomic, apparently Saitama features less and less as the story progresses so I suspect my issue is more with the source material than the anime. But the fights with Saitama were by far the highlight of S1 and the lack of them in this season combined with the constant teasing of them being around the corner was irritating.

Kenja no Mago– I went into this expecting a fairly bland isekai and what i got was a very bland isekai that kept referencing some incredibly interesting shit happening of screen. The disconnect between how much everyone in this fantasy world panicked at a single demon threatening their city and how blasé they were about an entire army of demons overrunning a neighbouring country was non-sensical. The idea of an uber powered and smart protagonist who had zero real world experience was interesting enough, but the ever increasing number of side characters really slowed down the story. My favourite being the young princess who had the voice of a 40 year old chain smoking dude. There were enough gags throughout most episodes to be amusing and they at least locked in a main girl as the MC’s girlfriend. But the animation and art were pretty horrid at times, even for someone like me who doesn’t notice that shit.

Sewayaki Kitsune no Senko-san– this was a pretty bland show. There was a plot point about how there was no character progression being made which was either a genius excuse for terrible writing/planning or a horrid excuse for terrible writing/planning. Was uncomfortable the whole time I watched this that I was going to be arrested for some underage child thing, which was not helped by the post-credit stuff which got a hard pass from me. If you like definitely-legal-aged-girls-who-look-very-young who also have animal ears and have the singular character trait of wanting to be your servant/slave, then I guess this one is for you. Also the main guy needs to tell his work colleagues to fuck of and solve their problems themselves.

Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari– it’s hard to pin point exactly where this went to shit. It started off pretty fantastic for the first arc (if a bit rocky in the very first few episodes due to the level of naive idiocy required by some antagonistic characters) but there was definitely a really good period. But by the end it was pretty bad. One big part would be the climatic fight happening in ep 18 or 19 and having three competing forces (well, four by the end) rather than two. I think the church being introduced as a villain or that fight and then immediately beaten, while simultaneously undermining the villainy of Malty was a big mistake. In addition having the four heroes still not get along after that point was simply not believable. Even if I buy that the other three heroes were naive idiots at the beginning, the events leading up that battle should have 100% corrected that for the Sword and Bow heroes while that battle itself should have brought the Spear on board. Then the weird mini-arc at the end which was basically to rush in the revelation about the nature of the Waves was… well.. rushed. And also kind of obvious with the introduction of two new mysterious and strong characters several eps earlier. I’d be interested in seeing a second season just to see the end of the story. I tried reading the web novel of this and god it was awful. So maybe the staff did the best they could with what they were given.

Isekai Quartet– this was a strange one. It was kind of funny in parts but the jokes ran thin with the 12 minute episode run times. The characters of Tanya the Evil also really didn’t fit in- which was lampooned in story a few times but even so I couldn’t get over it. Even the staff couldn’t seem to figure it out- the ED credits feature a performance of the “main” girl who is the deuteragonist of Re:Zero, KonoSuba and Overlord… plus Tanya who is the main character of her series instead of the deuteragonist female character from that series. The chibi art was fine I guess but the weird sort-of-progressing-but-not-really story was disappointing.

Joshikausei– an interesting art piece of an anime where the character don’t speak at all. Kind of wore thing even though the episodes run for less than 3 minutes each.

Mob Psycho 100 S2– technically last season but I finished it this season. I guess it’s fine but I seriously don’t get why people are so fucking hyped about it. Someone tried to argue with me that this will be as reputable and popular in 20+ years as Cowboy Bebop and Evangelion are nowadays. They are clearly an idiot.

Nobunaga-sensei no Osanazuma– this was flat out hentai. And not even good hentai. How did this get broadcast on TV?


Fruits Basket 2019– I was super nervous about watching this given how much I enjoyed the original series (and I’m scared to rewatch that in case i learn it’s actually garbage). But fuck me this show is wonderful. The characters are so good, it looks pretty fantastic and the story is interesting even if I already know the general gist of it. Highly recommend.

Mix: Meisei Story– I’m not a big fan of baseball but did play it a bit when I was younger. I’m also a sucker for a good sports movie/anime. And given this is like the third or fifth or 300th time the author has written this exact same story with the same characters, they’ve made both pretty good. Only caveat on a high recommendation is don’t watch it at the same time as any of the other work by the author (e.g. Touch) coz it will blend in.

Kimetsu no Yaiba– I didn’t really like the first couple of eps and I wish I’d stuck to my guns and dropped it. Given how much hype it was getting by the pseduo-main stream media, it was always going to be pretty average and dissappointing. I guess the animation scenes are good and the art style is unique/interesting, but the story and characters are pretty cliche.

Legend of the Galactic Heroes– have decided to slowly work my way through the 1980s/90s classic. And it’s fucking amazing. The art/animation is obviously dated but the sheer array of characters and complex storyline it weaves overwhelms any sort of critiscm along such comparatively petty lines. But given how fucking long this thing is, I reckon I’ll be at it for a few years.


Code Geass S1+S2– was watching this piecemeal while on holiday and after watching the new movie in cinemas, had a real itch to finish it out. It’s still so fucking good. I seriously recommend it. The only thing of note is that the official continuity of the new movie, and thus everything new that’s apparently to come, has a big key difference. Shirley isn’t dead. It super confused me when I saw the episode where Shirley died because she was still alive and kicking. And it really tears me as to whether or not I like the change. I fucking love Shirley and (I have to be in the minority here) think she was best girl for Lelouch. She was the normal, grounded person unlike CC and Kallen and more so than Nunally really kept Lelouch in touch with humble reality. Her death is an incredibly sad and poignant moment that shifts Lelouch’s character direction massively. It’s such a key moment and getting rid of it for… some unclear reason… I’m not a fan of. Even if it does keep the best girl alive which I am a fan of. Ugh. Makes the new movie go from fun/fine to annoying/bad.

Kizumonogatari– I can’t recall if I watched the first two movies previously but I watched all three after getting my hands on a copy of the final part of the trilogy. It’s classic Monogatari. It’s good, it’s beautiful with its cinema quality art and animation. Its got some good gags. its got some awkward panty stuff.  It has excessively long monologues with insane camera work. Everything you love and/or hate about the franchise.

DanMachi Movie: Orion no Ya– this movie had only one session on the day I saw it, in the first week of it being released and I was the only one in the cinema. On a weekend. Everyone else made the right decision. I guess it was a fine, self-contained story but it really leant on the worst bit of DanMachi (the characters) and actively ignored the best bit (the premise). Was hoping Zeus might pop in but no such luck.

Gym Rewatch

I’ve discovered I can access anime streaming services on the treadmills at my gym so rather than watch youtube speedruns I’m working through various shows on my rewatch list. Also I should note a “Fuck you Crunchyroll” for a) the sheer amount of stuff on their service I can’t watch in Australia and b) the incessant, highly repetitive adverts. If I haven’t started watching One Piece yet, showing me the same ad 6-8 times during an episode of a TV show isn’t going to change my mind.

(A feature where I could mark off what shows I’ve already watched and/or have no interest in would be really good- I legit would like them to advertise shows to me that I don’t know about in case they strike my fancy. There’s been a couple things I’ve given a try because of it in between the ads for One Piece and RWBY.)

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun– fuck this show is so good. Even five years on (which horrifies me), the humour, characters and story really holds up. As does the art and animation (at least on my iPad). But the lack of a conclusion to the story and/or a second season fucking kills me.

Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge– I really enjoyed this show when it first aired but ran out of steam on the rewatch at episode six. There were a few key scenes I remembered fondly and I’d hit them all by episode four. I may go back and finish it off but… well… I dunno. The jokes in this one just didn’t hold up as well.

Ixion Saga DT– speaking of something that doesn’t hold up, despite me loving this when it first came out I barely managed to struggle my way through two episodes of this. It’s dated horribly. Had to apologise to a mate of mine who tried to watch it a year or two ago and I gave them shit for not liking it. It’s bad.

Log Horizon– I’m still unsure of this one. I watched the first two eps and it didn’t grab my like I thought it would. But it didn’t actively turn me off like Ixion Saga DT did. I recall it was a slow burner (and that season 2 was garbage) so I’m probably going to give it another crack in the near-ish future to see if it’s worth it.

Winter 2019 Anime Review

I enjoy how as each season passes I have less and less enthusiasm to write in anything approximating a reasonable timeframe.

As seems to be a recurring theme, a fair chunk of shows in this season had interesting premises or ideas but then ended up kind of dissappointing. So consistently so that it’s not really worth dividing up good/bad among the things I did watch.

So in (mostly) alphabetical order here’s the anime I watched in Winter 2019:

Domestic no Kanajo– this show started off interesting. Gave a bit of a Scums Wish vibe with the teacher and student relations. Domestic na KanojoAlso the unexpected sexual relations in episode 1 were quite an intriguing twist. But the show just didn’t live up to those initial expectations. It particularly irked me that the boy kept calling the teacher ‘Sensei’ while flirting/hooking up and this didn’t cause the woman to be constantly reminded about how she was a teacher fucking her student. And that was a huge breach of professional conduct. Was really implausible and inconsistent how well she accepted that and didn’t seem to care about the obvious professional risks (and moral ones too I guess). Even just having the kid call her by her surname would be a massive improvement as it would mean they stopped whacking us in the face with it. Also the way they, inevitably, get busted is stupid. In on episode they “hide” by crouching down in a fuck off huge hallway at the school that is 80% windows outside. But that works out fine. Meanwhile they later fuck in a hotel room on the 10th storey of a building and somehow the school photographer takes a photo of a bonfire dance outside that somehow clearly catches them. 6/10

Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue– again this show started off pretty good. Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue. Despite being thoroughly over the overused trope of an MC being a shut in mangaka with no social skills (Barakamon did this best, stop trying to capture lightning in a bottle again) this show had the fantastic twist of dedicating half the episode to being from the perspective of a tsundere cat. Which the MC adopts. Hence his “roommate is a cat” and the show started off quite great. But Episode 3 was an early stumbling block where it had a random supernatural element related to the MCs dead parents spirits being chased around by the cat. Then as episodes progressed they clearly ran out of ideas of what could be said/done through the cats perspective so we got higher and higher proportions of each episode on the stupid MC. And the eclectic cast of tropes who he ran interacted with. Only interesting one was the pet store lady (and I guess her younger brother) but she was in like 3 or 4 episodes. Fun premise but you’re probably better off watching Barakamon and Chi’s Sweet Home. 6/10

Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan– am very late to the party on this. Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no GohanWas a monthly short by ufotbale with the Fate/Stay characters going on low key cooking adventures. Slow paced slice of life. I’m not much of a cook so the chunks of run time dedicated to explaining recipes were a bit much (I assume they were accurate recipes) but I guess it was nice seeing where these characters from a mid-2000s choose your own adventure porno have ended up. A good show to chuck on before going to bed because if you fall asleep you won’t really miss anything. 5/10

Fate/Stay Heavens Feel II- Lost Butterfly– speaking of “choose your own adventure porno from the mid-2000s”, I saw the second Heavens Feel movie in cinema a few weeks back. Further cementing Sakura as the best girl in my mind (although I expect if I rewatched UBW I’d prefer Rin). Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven's Feel - II. Lost ButterflyThe art and animation was fucking beautiful in this, with some absolutely gorgeous fight scenes between various Servants. Also some high tension scenes where characters confronted others- in particularly I liked Gilgamesh confronting Sakura in a dark alleyway at night time. Was less of a fan of the scene where Sakura and Shiro finally have sex. Two reasons- firstly the dialogue was the cringewothy garbage that… well… reminds you this was the third/secret route of a choose your own adventure porno written nearly decades ago. It was very bad. Equally bad was how much a of a cock tease the scene was- so often Sakura’a tits were nearly on screen but the nipples always managed ot just be out of shot or obscured. Fuck that. If you’re keeping the fucking dialogue, at least show me the insane ‘big tiddys’ of this hot anime girl on the big screen. I want a canon image for what Sakura looks like topless. In beautiful ultra 4k HD or whatever resolution cinemas play. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about the movie. It did suffer a bit being the middle of a trilogy. Also I’ve become psychologically used to anime movies I see in cinema being fucking masterpieces (Your Name, Silent Voice, I Want to Eat Your Pancreas) or popular trash (DBZ movies, Yugioh Movies, that SAO movie). This movie was weirdly neither- it was towards the masterpiece end in terms of production quality and those fight scenes but it was still nowhere near the typical level of an anime movie that breaks into a western release. Will probably revisit it and the first one in a marathon before going to see the third one… if I remember. So uhh… 7/10?

Endro– I really dunno what I expected with this one. Endro~!It gave me Yuru Camp vibes (the MC is basically the same person) in a fantasy setting. And I suppose that’s what I got. But the characters were all pretty one dimensional, the Princess shit me off and the ultimate direction the plot went it was really unsatifying. I technically watched this until the end but I definitely watched the last bunch of episodes in a marathon while working on some other stuff at the same time (and given I don’t speak Japanese, that shows how much I needed to pay attention to follow what was happening). I guess it’s a fine show to pass the time. 6/10

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai– this show was fantastic. The premise sounded like absolute garbage when I read it so it was a breath of fresh air that this turned out so fun. That occasional victory makes slogging through so many bad/disappointing shows worth it… although those rare victories are what keeps the optimism that makes me slog through so much garbage barely alive. Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai ZunousenThe dynamic between the three main characters was fantastic, with the occasional extra of the Treasurer being a great add on. One of my friends informs me that in the source material the Treasurer is more involved earlier on. But I think the well-crafted gag in early episodes of pictures/memories of activities having a fourth person blurred out that the other three are clearly forgetting about makes the tweak worthwhile. Towards the end of the series it did have a few burrs- like the stupid ‘Kaguya becomes a child when she is ill’ which was perhaps a step too far beyond suspension of disbelief. Also the final episode left me with a bit of a bland aftertaste as it seemed that after all the activities we’d seen, including the requisite big emotional arc in the final clump of episodes, the two love interest characters were somehow not in any different position than how things had begun. In fact none of the characters really developed or changed. My friend I mentioned earlier disagrees with that statement but I think he’s confusing us learning more about the characters as stuff happened with the characters changing in response to that stuff happening. And I do acknowledge that in this sort of slice of life comedy show you typically don’t get huge character development. But even half a step in… well… any direction would have been great. All that being said, still an overall fantastic show. 8/10

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru– this show may technically have been part of last season given it ran for a weird amount of 23 episodes. But it was fantastic. All sport anime are either fantastic emotional roller coasters or bland mediocrity and this definitely fell into the former category. The fact that it developed all ten of the runners; plus some supporting characters and rivals AND their various, changing relationships was so good. Kaze ga Tsuyoku FuiteiruThe art and animation were also pretty top notch… the CGI less so. But most impressive was how well it paced the overall story- the team forming arc (where each person was made to buy into the concept), the training/qualification arc (where everyone had to encounter and overcome a personal difficulty within the sport or external to the sport) and the final race itself (plus a small little post-race tease) were balanced perfectly. Nothing ran too long with padding or repeat concepts and nothing felt rushed. If anything, half an episode extra seeing the post-race stuff is all I’d want but ending where it did was perfect emotionally. And the emotional punch in that final stretch of the last leg where the two MCs have both an incredibly touching moment followed by a horrific heartbreak (unnoticed by anyone else) was… well… a roller coaster. This is up with Haikyuu as top 2 sports anime I’ve seen (sorry Kuroko!). Also it hit a bit of a personal note with the ‘making people buy into a cause and helping them push past what they thought their limits were’ stuff. Have done that in a few projects in the past and it is an immensely fun/satisfying thing to do. 9/10

Kemurikusa– this was a very weird one. I never got into Kemono Friends but I knew the creator has the capacity to do something weird and special with his work.Kemurikusa (TV) So I stuck with this even though I probably shouldn’t. It was an interesting world and aside from Wakaba the characters all had their charm. Was quite surprised with what happened with various characters as the finale started to kick into gear. The rapid development of the lore towards the end was both welcome as it explained what was happening but also unsatisfying as it didn’t really explain why the fuck what was happening was happening. The art style and animation were… interesting? Inconsistent? The best of times and the worst of times? I can only assume we’ll get a soulless S2 in a year or two that does a weird semi-reboot and makes things more confusing in terms of the lore. 6/10

Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken– this started so well and then ended terribly. Actually I dunno if it started well. The premise seemed ideal for a 2 minute short, gag comedy anime rather than a serious action isekai. I figured the joke would wear off pretty soon and it did… hence they basically made the MC slime functionally a normal, if OP, human very quickly. Tensei shitara Slime Datta KenThat being said the Orc Lord arc was pretty good. And the bit before it about building a village and going to the Dwarf Kingdom were fine. Nothing special… except for Dwarves being human sized and looking just like normal men. But after the Orc Lord things went off the rails. The concept of the next bit with the Demon Lords gaining interest and Milim kicking about and the Charybdis (dunno how it was spelt) but what should have been a 12-13 episode second arc was a rushed 4 episode arc. Letting is then get in a stupid arc where the OP MC goes and teaches at a school to he can raise some troubled orphans. And then we get a side-story from the perspective of a character who died… and then we get a recap for the final episode… what the fuck. There were apparently heaps of story tweaks and changes from the source material. From what has been explained to me by people who have read it, none of them were necessarily bad changes. They just streamlined content and cut out pointless busy work. Like in the orphan child arc the MC has to find a place. In the anime the servant of a business partner knows where it is. In the original it’s some other mini-quest to find the information. Whatever. The issue was that in cutting out the pointless busywork they decided to rapidly accelerate the pace of interesting story content to squeeze in stupid story content. Very disappointing. 6/10

Tsurune– this show was fucking fantastic. I do archery myself and have dabbled in Kyudo so seeing the sport presented in such a compelling anime was fantastic. Tsurune: Kazemai Koukou KyuudoubuThe only issue I have with this show was that we didn’t see more of the girls- because I agree with the characters in the show that kyudo gear looks fucking hot. I really appreciated the depth to which the show focused on getting over the ‘hurdle’, especially when coming back from a failure, which is something I think is applicable to all sports (and probably most things people put effort into). Actually the more I think about this show the more uncertain as to whether Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru or this make up the top 2 with Haikyuu. Maybe the silly plot point of the archery coach getting in a car accident on the day of the tournament knocks this one down into spot three. 9/10

Yakusoku no Neverland– somehow I knew about this… franchise? Concept?… about 12 months ago and even then the premise didn’t super excite me. Yakusoku no NeverlandDunno why. It was very good. I think maybe it reminds me too much of the mid-2000s TV series Prison Break which was pretty good to start with but then rapidly jumped the shark once they actually broke out of prison. Also children annoy the shit out of me so the setting having them all be under the age of 12 was not appealing. But I was proven wrong- the art and animation worked really well, the characters were compelling and the plot had some very unexpected twists. Particularly in the last few episodes when… well… the plan starts having changes in it. There was a character trait in Emma that popped up towards the end that I didn’t quite buy and a fantastically unexpected detail about Ray. And Norman… wow… I was shocked how he played things out. Although I suspect the inevitable S2 will remove the emotional impact of his action. 8.5/10

Also here’s some thoughts on shows I started watching in Winter 2019 but didn’t finish for one reason or another:

Boogiepop wa Warawanai- this show had a weird number of episodes (~18 or so), a very confusing release schedule (due to the weird number of episodes) and a non-linear plot. And it’s also releated to a show from the early-2000s. Unsure if it’s a reboot or a sequel. Didn’t care enough to look. I’m assured that it is very good those who watch it and are into this sort of thing- sort of occult, sort of sci-fi, things only make sense on a rewatch when you have all the info and can piece it together. Is on the list of “things to go back to during a boring anime season. One day. Maybe”

Egao no Daika- I dunno why I though this would be interesting. All this show demonstrated was why you don’t put 12 year old children in charge of the military. Because they will do dumb shit and you will lose. Also it was (I assume) an accidental experiment in “trying to make both sides of the war emphathetic to show shades of grey even though one side is demonstrably an unprovoked aggressor doing evil shit to its citizens and the good guys”. Unsurprisingly the experiment found that it’s not possible to make a good storyline that way.

Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen- I think Madoka is fantastic for what it did with the Magical Girl Genre. I also think Magical Girl Raising Project is a fantastic extension on top of what Madoka laid. And given Madoka dealt with “Magical girls finding out shit is fucked” while Raising Project dealt with “Magical Girls surving through shit that is fucked” I hoped this show would delver on the third part of that concept with “Magical Girls dealing with PTSD having got theough the fucked shit”. Unfortunately it dropped that concept pretty much strgaight away and become a poorly animated, boring artsyle generic magical girls fighting each other and other things show.

Mob Psycho 100 S2- I’m still working my way through this. S1 didn’t grab me as much as it did everyone else but I enjoyed it enough. Same thing here. I’m assured that the second half is fantastic so I am currently watching it. And all signs are suggesting it could be fantastic. And if not it’s solid for bingeing while doing other stuff

Dororo- dunno about this. Nothing about it sticks out as bad. Or good. But it’s very different. The art and animation feel off but I can’t tell if I like that or hate it. The biggest draw is the world and the concept for the main plot. The biggest turn off is that the interesting character is mute (at least for the episodes I saw) and most of the dialogue comes from a stupid shit of a child. Another one that I’m assured is worth watching but unless I’m desperate I suspect I won’t get to it.

And some quickfire comments on some of the garbage that was put out by Japan in this three month period:

Dimension High School- interesting concept mixing j-drama and anime. The problem was that the show centred around solving Japanese word puzzles. With literal count down timers for the characters and audience to solve the puzzles. And if you aren’t fluent in reading, writing and speaking Japanese you just spend several minutes looking at still images of word puzzles watching a clock tick down. Absolute waste of an interesting idea.


Ueno-san wa Bukiyou- I love Science. I don’t love weird attempted sexual harassment and assault in the name of science. Even having a girl doing it to a boy coz she’s fond of him doesn’t make it bearable

Mini Toji- a short based on… Katana no Toji(?) from several seasons back. I duno why I bothered watching it given I struggled to finish that show. I think it was a sequel spin off but who the fuck cares.

Rinshi!! Ekoda Chan- now this is a fantastic concept. Rather than the navel gazing garbage we get typically of “anime set in weeb industry X” (e.g. manga, gaming, anime itself…) this was a 3-5 minute anime short followed by a 20 minute interview with the staff (the director and VA on the episodes I saw) about the process of making anime. If this was an industry you were interested in working in, excellent viewing! Unfortunately that’d not me. Also in one of the first two eps (forget which) there was some really awkward viewing where the old, male director was correcting the young, female VA on what the character (a young, female) would feel on a topic. And the VA just had to sit there with the awkward “this old geezer is so wrong and misguided but if I say anything my career is fucked” smile on her face. A fantastic idea fucked in execution.

Manaria Friends- somehow a yuri show set in a fantasy school wasn’t good. The opposite of a miracle.

Virtual-san wa Miteiru- like Pop Team Epic but worse. In this one the unconnected and not-funny sketches are all riffing of the personas of artificial Japanese YouTube… “characters”. Like Hatune Miku but instead of bad to medicore songs, they are bad to bad YouTube personalities. With literally no story/plot or compent CG as far as I could tell.

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikotai- had pretty accurate WWII era dogfight style plane battles. Which meant they went too long. Also the CG and character models in the non-battle parts was terrible. Find a screencap of the girls standing around in the bar, look how big their hats and and judge the size of their heads to the rest of their bodies. It’s fucked

Girly Air Force- a boy has to seduce and fuck an idiot and/or tsundere airplane to help fight off mysterious alien spaceships/planes. Or something. A plot point of the early episodes is this random refugee getting into (maybe sneaking into) a Japanese Self Defence Force base via his bicycle. The same base with the only line of defence against mysterious aliens has very poor security. Or something… again the details from 3 months ago are hazy. In any event, it was not good.

Grimms Notes- haha isn’t is so funny that the male character transforms into a girl?! And they gallivant through a bunch of classic fairy tales while bantering with various character tropes. Comedy gold! Just read the Grimm Fairytales directly rather than this weird homage adaption.

Bermude Triangle- Colorful Pastrale- How is Cardfight Vanguard still popular enough to warrant this spin off anime about (I believe) one of the card sets? When was it ever popular enough to warrant that? In any event, obviously not popular enough to pay for any decent writer, artists or animators. Can’t remember if the VAs were good. But 4 minutes of this was absolutely horrific to watch.

Pastel Memories- this is the self-aggrandising, navel gazing shit that is a cancer on anime/Japanese popculture. Is about a maid café having to save Japan by making it remember anime/manga that has been mysteriously forgotten. One of the girls looks like a character from Monogatari series. Which is the closest thing to a good ting I can so… although it just reminds you about a far, far better show. This combines the poor book based content of Grimm Notes with the shit storyline of “Plastic Memories”. In the sense that Plastic Memories also had both a shit storyline and the word “Memories” in it’s title. Good stuff

Watashi no Tenshi ga Maiorita!- Female. Paedophiles. Are. Still. Paedophiles. And. Are. Still. Fucked. Up. For. Fuck. Sakes. Japan. Don’t. Encourage. This. Shit.

Ame-iro Cocoa- Side G- a centre swapped side story (‘side’ is literally in the same) about a coffee shop in what I assume is a franchise about coffee shops. All boys. Whatever. Slice of life with uninteresting characters. If you have no forward plot you need fantastic characters. Just having pretty characters isn’t enough. But I guess if you’ve watched the 4-20 previous seasons in the franchise (no clue how many there are. Whatever the number is, it’s too many) you’ll probably like it.

Meji Tokyo Renka- a time travelling reverse harem. If you like historically inaccurate hot boys vaguely seducing a blank slate who probably has some sort of special powers (didn’t watch more than half an episode); this is the one for you!

Extra- Christmas and New Year Backlog!

Because I have the pleasure of living interstate from all my family, I am in the incredibly lucky siutation that I can do whatever I want during the Christmas+New Year holiday/”shut down” period. And because I spend 50 weeks of the year working like a madman, this year I decided to spend it doing as little as possible and watching anime. Notably, I decided to test out the AnimeLab platform. Which is fine as far as streaming platforms go. If you want “legit access” to anime I’d put it above crunchyroll.

Anyway I watched/rewatched a bunch of fantastic shows and have some thoughts about them. Some more than others:

Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu

This show is fantastic. Even a decade later. Actually this is my main critiscm of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsuthe AnimeLab platform- the episodes can only be done in chronological order. Well, you could manualy watch them in a different order I guess. But watching them in not broadcast order loses some of the magic. Although I think I prefer the DVD order- starting with the Mikuru “movie” episode is such a great way to begin the show and then have stuff backfilled in as you go through the episodes in broadcast order. Also the OPs and EDs are done by broadcast order so they keep randomly changing across the 28 episodes. The plot and characters are great and have been talked to death so I won’t go into that here, instead I’ll touch on a couple other things of note.

Firstly, Endless Eight was far better than I remembered. I’d alwasy jokingly defended it when people complained but now I leigtmiately think it is a fantastic piece of art. The sheer volume of changes that they make to each epsiode without chnaging anything is amazing- the clothes people where, the locations people go to, the places people sit or stand when talking, the orientation of the printed menu in a cafe. It’s fucking crazy. In hindsight I suspect the backlash and (probable) sales drop due to endless eight is what killed the series. But if there’d been a season 3 or even if S2 had been a full 2 cour rather than 14 new eps mixed amongst the original 14 eps it wouldn’t have been so bad. And we would have gotten more seasons to finish the series. Which would have been great.

Secondly, I was shocked by how many episodes were centred on the School Festival. By my count there were 8 episodes related to the School Festival directly and two other referred to it. Which is like… 30-35% of the total. In a modern anime a School Festival would be done in a single episode and then they’d be off to the next thing. By having so much focus on a single event there was such a deeper story to it. Plus there were HEAPS of eatser eggs in the backgrounds of shots as characters did stuff that you saw in detail in prior or subsequent episodes. Case in point was when Kyon was wandering around the School Fetsival you saw Haruhi setting up the impromptu band performance. Such exquisite attention to detail showed a level of care and love and dedication to the show. I really wish there had been more.

Other small details littered across practically every episode like Haruhi’s changing hairstyle (to ponytail, away from ponytail etc), the Mikuru photo folder on the computer desktop, the costumes and shit in the background of the club room… such a well crafted show in the little details.  Many of which you don’t catch if you watch in it broadcast order becuase they are referencing future episodes!

The art and animation also looked great even though AnimeLab locked it at 480p unless I gave them money.

It wasn’t all rosy though- the tension in the scene when Haruhi tried to set up and film Mikuru being sexually assaulted was incredible. I knew it was coming and how it was resolved (not super well through a modern eye) but even so I was gripping the edge of my seat. Incredibly well drawn, animated and performed.

Also whenever Mikuru was brought to tears at any point in the series it broke my fucking heart.

Another incredibly well done scene was the one where Haruhi was doing casting for the movie and happened to nail everyone’s secret roles. The progressive breaking of Koizumi by Haruhi was so good.

So weird realising that the finale (ep28) takes place like six months after episode 1.

Also wasn’t a big fan of the finale. There was a big drop in quality, epseiclaly with the weird Nakano reading a book in a still room for extended periods of time.

That being said, it is still an incredibly and highly recommendable show. Not only was it incredibly pivotal for anime when it was released it easily holds up. It is still far better than the vast majority of shows being made today.

Lucky Star

I tried to watch this show years ago and just didn’t get it. So for ages I thought Lucky☆StarI’d just missed the boat. And I suspect I somewhat have- it’s such a meta/referential show that I probably didn’t catch anything. But I was pleased to find I was very, very wrong about having missed my chance.

In particular, watching it striaght after Haruhi was a brilliant stroke of luck. To anyone who is familiar with both shows the connection is pretty self-evident. They are both by Kyoto Animation and Lucky Star was their next/immediate follow up to Haruhi. Which means that a significant amount of Lucky Star’s content and meta commentary revolves around Haruhi (and it’s impact on anime/nerd culture at the time).

One of the Lucky Star characters has a Haruhi song as their phone ringtone. One of them puts together a dance routine and comments that they need to make the next Hare Hare dance (the dance from Haruhi). In one episode there are people cosplayer as characters from Haruhi. My favourite was when the anime nerd character Konata “watches” the Haruhi finale and makes many of the same observations I made about it being a weird tonal chnage and drop in quality, makes the same speculations I did and then goes onto online forums to see the nerds already in a flame war over it minutes after it aired. Which I can only presume is what actually happened. Another great one is when the group goes bowling and all their names are Haruhi characters… and the scores match up (the person as Haruhi is doing fantastic, Nagato and Koizomi are just behind, Kyon is average, Mikuru is absolutely terrible).

Again, some incredible attention to detail showing incredible love/passion with the project. And honestly I would have missed it entirely if I hadn’t coincidentally decided to watch Lukcy Star after my Haruhi rewatch. So I 100% recommend anyone who is intereste din Lucky Star do the same thing.

It is also kind of weird how well the art and animation holds up. The character/shows design and style is so different to what modern shows do and for whatever reason that style from the mid-2000s just doesn’t date as badly as the style from the mid-2010s. I didn’t realise how old this show was until I looked it up, thats how good it still looks today.

The characters themselves are the emodiment of tropes but it’s done as a parody more than as a shortcut for character development. And the way they meta-commentate through those tropes is fantastic. Which makes it hard to pick when someone should watch this series in their life as an anime fan- you need to have enough of an understanding of anime and the culture to get it… but if you leave it too late then you risk having it’s perfection undercut by things that have copied bits and pieces of it since.

Also for an odd/crass observation, the physical shape of the “well endowed” Miyuki compared to more modern characters (such as Chi from Devil is a Part Timer) is well… noticeably less exaggerated. Really makes you wonder about the people making and consuming this product…

But yes, this show is a classic cute girls doing cute things slice of life and was the perfect antidote to the typical ‘I can’t believe it’s over feeling’ I was getting for Haruhi. Damn KyoAni are a fantastic studio.

…I feel I should praise the show more for being it and not being related to Haruhi but whatever.

Devil is a Part Timer

Continuing my comedy streak of watching/rewatching things, I rewatched Hataraku Maou-sama!Devil is a Part Timer. I didn’t take as many notes for this one as the previous two shows (actually I took none) because it is a much more recent show and thus I was less shocked at how good it still was.

This is another fantastic show. The only bad thing is that there isn’t a second season over half a decade later. Is defintiely a world and a set of characters I want to see more of. Particualrly given how the final episode is kind of shit- the big climax is done in the second last episode, making the final feel like a random OVA with the kind of content you’d expect around epsidoe 7-8 in a one cour series.

Also Chiho’s body proportions are absolutely ridiculous, even without considering her age. Goddamn Japan.

I particurly like the dynamic between Maou and Alciel as the show progresses. The way Alciel frames him and Maou (and Emilia) as construction workers when trying to explain their situation to a random human friend of Emilia’s was a particularly fun scene. Really showed the strength of their friendship and relationship.

Emilia got a bit tiresome with her stalker behaviour towards Maou and I’m annoyed the romantic subplots of both Maou-Emilia and Maou-Chiho existed. Only one was neccessary and I think it would have been better having Emilia come to understand Maou through him having strong relationships with other humans rather than herself. There could be arguments made that him befriending her could be preceived as having evil ulterior motives, but him being nice and supporting random humans was the perfect way to show Emilia wasn’t on the right side of a simple good vs evil war.

But yeah, a great show! Highly recommend!

No Game No Life

Switching things up I went next for an action-comedy sort of show. The main No Game No Lifething I remembered about this was that the art and animation were eye wateringly beautiful. And they are.

I didn’t remember how much incest stuff there was. I knew it was particulary heavy at the start but damn it is very heavy. It lessens and becomes more comedic (…somehow) as the series progresses but it is still a legitimate barrier to making this a recommendabe show.

The highlight is easily when Sora/Shiro and Jibril play Shiritori. It does such a fantastic job showing how the protaginsts think and perceive the world… and how everyone else is overconfident and underestimates them. Plus it is super funny and quite meta in dealing with censorship.

That being said, the final arc of the show is also pretty fun. The series as a whole is pretty great.

My only other observation is that it really drove home how much I didn’t care/want the prequel movie. I want to see another season of them beating the other races in progressibley more ridiculous games. Building up the war thousands of years earlier and finding a convoluted way to set up this ‘war free, game based dispute resolution’ world was just… well… convoluted and unnecessary.


I loved this show the first time around but struggled to get through the first ep on this rewatch. Dunno why. Maybe I’d just watched too many comedies in a row?

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!

I feel a bit mixed on this show. Something about it has put me off it for literally years and I was really reluctant to watch it despite many friends recommendations. Unsure what or why though, I’ve just always had an odd feeling about it.

But I decided to give it a shot. I’m not sure if it grabbed me immediately but the middle chunk of S1 had me absolutely hooked. I found myself really relating to the stupid made up fantastical scenarios I had a kid (personally, many revolved around Dragon Ball Z stuff) and then trying to bury that shit when I got to highschool and it was no longer acceptable/cool to play ‘make believe’ any more. I also liked the different ways Togashi and Nibutani tried to solve their similair problems. When Nibutani started having weird interest in Togashi I knew something was up but it defienitely wasn’t what I expected

While some of the characters (in particular Dekomori) were a bit over the top in some ways, they also felt very realistic in others. And the way they came about getting together in their group and then interacted was great. Even the less prominent characters had developed and relatable subplot- like Isshiki’s attempt to get girls backfiring over the course of several episodes.

What derailed the fun train for me was the end arc. And the way that it kind of concluded, as I interpreted it, that not growing up and having all these fantasy delusions about reality is an ok thing because/if it’s being used to “deal” with an emotional tradegy e.g. death of a parent. Even though the character in question actively wasn’t dealing with stuff. It seemed such a poor way to conclude the overal arc and the romantic plot of the series. And the real world message was kind of fucked.

Unsure if I’ll watch S2. One day perhaps but I’ve got a bit of a yuck feeling from the direction S1 decided to go in.

Also random shout out to the fact the main guy’s dad works in Jakarta. What a random place to pick and a refreshing change from ‘somewhere vaguely in Europe or the USA’.

Survivor: David vs Goliath+Palau+Guatemala

An odd inclusion here given I typically talk mostly about anime. But over the Summer I finished Survior S37- David vs Goliath and also watched the entirely of S10- Palau and S11- Guatemala. I’m slowly working my way through the older seasons after getting hooked in the early 30s by a friend. And it’s been good/weird to compare and contrast the modern game with how it originally played out.

It’s also been bad because it’s kind of ruined the modern game. When my friend got me hooked in S32- Kaoh Rong I really enjoyed a couple seasons. But as I started watching the older ones, I realised how much more interesting and exciting those early seasons are.

Those first ten seasons comprise a fairly defineable era of the show- in Guatemala the hidden immunity idol is introduced and it’s downhill from there as it switched from a balanced social game to a strategy heavy game. In the newer seasons, basicllay every episode is dominated by strategy talk of different groups of people trying to form and split majoirty voting blocs to account for one of the four thousand idols or advantages introduced into the game over 30 plus seasons. Whereas in the earlier seasons you saw people having to actually survive and compete and manipulate each other without it backfiring. So much more intriguing and satisfying. Nowadays it seems to all be episodic big moves and very little character or story development.

That all being said, while I love the early seasons (with the notable exception of S8- All Stars which is a steaming pile of heartbreaking garbage), I can already see the wheels falling off in Guatemala as the production/editing switches focus to try and trick the viewer into thinking there is a coin flip decision between two options when really something entirely different is happening on the island.

That being said, David vs Goliath was a pretty fantastic season. I’d say maybe low top ten, probably early teens in terms of season rankings. I got a bit over the Natalie drama and think it was emphasised too much in the ealry season but otherwise the show had a fantastic build up to the double episode. Peaking with the 5+ hour endurance challenge between Christian and Alec that resulted in the David’s finally wresting control from the Goliaths. After a series of fantastic plays including vote steals, idol nullifcation (a new twist) and even splitting a minoirty vote (a survivor first). But then the David’s shot themselves in the foot and gave control back to the Goliaths. It was kind of impressive how the Goliath tribe effectively didn’t break their alliance the entire game. But it made for an increddbly boring endgame- there was really only one possible winner who would be good (who did win) and it was just a question of whether he’d have an immunity run to make it or be voted out and have someone less deserving sneak into the winning spot.

(Which as an aside is what happened in Aus Survivor Champions vs Contenders- the Final Two was a person who quit a bunch of challenges and got carried to the end and a person who should have been voted out but was saved by production with an incredibly suspicous hidden immunity idol find. A dissapointing end to an otherwsie great season. Also both Final Two were super rich which made it hard to want either to win the money)

Fortunately that person did win and it was a pretty satisfying end. And one where it was both hard to see who would win, but the finalists all (quite unusually for a modern season) had been present in the show and storylines since the first episode.

In stark contrast to Guatemala where the ultimate winner was basically absent from the show until the halfway point. Which is actually pretty typical for modern survivor and I was suprised to see this issue emerge so early. When all the people you are introdcuced to in ealry episodes get booted form the show, it’s hard to enjoy the back end of the show and like the winner because the people you like don’t win. And you’ve already had the satsifaction of the people you don’t like losing. Guatemala in particular had a pointless first four(ish) episodes because there was a super convoluted tribe swap which broke everything (in terms of alliances and relationships) and made it super hard to follow who was with who and doing what. After that point though it had a fantastic stretch of episodes (although the extended parts where everyone was off by themselves in the forest looking for the first Hidden Immunity Idol were an ominous foreshadowing of what was to come) that then petered out as the interesting characters were clearly painted into a box of “too much backstabbing to get jury votes” and a semi-random person ultimately won.

Palau was a fun season. The winner did a pretty good job of being a dominant force throughout the whole season. Played pretty close to a perfect game from episode 1 all the way to the finale. Was also really weird seeing one tribe be literally destroyed via immunity challenge losses. With the last member being sent over the merge with the other tribe. In a modern season that would never happen as they’d do a tribe swap or some other thing. The utter domination by one tribe made it incredibly compelling viewing through the start of the season. The high stakes drama of the final episodes as the dominant alliance came apart (led in part by a series of super dumb decisions by Ian) led to a fantastic Final Immunity Challange. And a brutal Final Tribal. An absolute corker of a season!

Sometime in the future I’ll probably do a write up about my Survivor thoughts. From what I’ve seen so far I’ve noticed a fairly horrifying trend in male vs female winners which does not speak well to how people judge winners in the game.


Fall 2018 Anime Round Up

I’m only about a month late but whatever. Fall 2018 was a fairly uninspired season- chatting with a friend yesterday I literally couldn’t name a single show I’d watched without referring to my notes.

Great Shows:

These anime were legitmiately good and highlight why this medium is arguably better than live-action and how its not just for kids.

Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai– this show wasSeishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai fantastic. Easily AOTS. In the same vein as SNAFU or even Classroom of the Elite (I’m reasonably sure all three have the same writer or character designer…), a deadpan main character deals with the ever increasing harem of attractive girls around him. However unlike a tpyical harem, he actually has a girlfriend and the girls all have actualy characters, development and interpersonal relations that aren’t just about the male MC. The art, animation and music are all really really good (although the hype of the OP song is perhaps a bit too much). It also has some really good small touches, like the chnages it makes to the ED as it progresses through each arc. Thankfully the bunny girl stuff really only features in ep1 and then a single scence around ep8-9 and is played for emotional laughs. The supernatural stuff isn’t too ridicuous even though by all rights it’s stupid, they use it to good comedic effect with the deadpan MC. But the show really focuses on the characters and how they (in)effectively deal with puberty and goreiing up and family/societal pressure. Which is a super relatable to any audience. The arc with the science nerd girl was a bit of a dissappointment and I’m annoyed at the number of unresolved plot threats (namely the mysterious purple haired beach girl and the MCs own supernatural issue which is highlighted in ep1). Also the ending was fucking heartbreaking with how things panned out for the MCs sister. Such a beutifuclly emotional show. Absolutely recommend it and insts people ignore the silly title.

Yagate Kimi ni Naru– what appears to be a yuri romance show on the surface is Yagate Kimi ni Naruactually a show about young people’s self-realisation. Speaking to a fellow anime nerd about this show, it was observed that none of the characters actually change what they are or what they’re doing over the show. Rather, what changes as they develop is that they stop passively being *something* and start actively being that same *something*. The art style and animation are eye wateringly beutuficul, notably the walking to and from the student council room. And the romance triangle that sort of forms between three girls is a fantastic deconstruction of a girl who is disillusioned with her own inabilty to feel love, a girl who has been putting on a persona for so long she doesn’t know how to be herself and a girl who has dedicated her enitre existence to a falsehood story. But even then, those brief descriptions barely capture the comoplexity of those three characters. As a crisitism, the two other characters included in the student council feature in half an epsiode and zero episodes respectively which was a bit dissappointing. Also the fact that the yrui romance was successfully kept a secret and had no repurcussions was an odd choice. There was a weird subplot about one of the yuri girls being told by an ex-lower she was just going through a phase which was a but weird. Also the final arc was quite tropey in that they were perfomring a play that happened to replicate aspects of the weird love triangle, false persona situation. But it was handled suprisingly well, in parituclar all three characters immediately relaised this and it became an active spy-vs-spy thing as they watched how the other reacted and did things themselves to try steer it to their own direction. The ending was a bit unstasifying in the sense it didn’t reach a proper conclusion, but I guess that’s an incentive to read the manga. However my biggest issue with this show, and the reason I initially dropped it, is that the early episodes feature pretty frequent sexual assault of a young girls by the older one. It’s played off in a positive way as the young girl doesn’t feel assaulted or a victim but even so it’s quite off putting and gross. Is the main reason it isn’t AOTS. Makes it hard to recommend because rather than the usual anime caveat of ‘dumb stuff in bad taste’ (e.g. ridicuously proportioned female characters) it’s got an actively, morally bad starting point. It’s great if you can get past that but still is kind of fucked.

Watchable Shows

These shows weren’t actively terrible but they weren’t actively fantastic. I enjoyed them as filler content while playing Smash Ultimate or eating or watching two things at once.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita karaIrozuku Sekai no Ashita kara- or as I call it, poorly-Irozuku Sekai no Ashita karadisguised-depression-metaphor the anime; was a fine show. The art and animation was generally good and the characters all had reasonable development. The fact that pretty much all the intercharacter relationships we saw develop were romantic ones (with the exception of the MC and her grandmother) was a bit boring. Also the solution to the MCs “I can’t use magic for some reason” (*cough* I’m depressed *cough*) was obvious from episode 1. There was also a “reveal” about a book the MC vaguely remembered from her childhood which was also incredibly obvious several episodes in advance. I was a bit suprised how much of a focus was put on school based content given it was technically a magic anime but the activities that happened there were fun enough. Only real issue is that they didn’t stick the landing at the end- which they never could because it was a time travel anime. The MC was sent into the past by her grandma to hang out with teeange-grandma and her friends. So they then built up all these relationships, in particular a romance, and at the end there was a somewhat rushed arc about her having to return to the future. I won’t spoilt how it reolved but I wasn’t happy with it emotionaly… but then again I think the alternatives would have been equally unahppy for a variety of reasons. Time travel should just be avoided, Steinsgate lukced out in being fantastic.n

Release the Spyce– I’m not really sure what I exoected from this show. I foundRelease the Spyce the unintentional message of ‘do drugs, they make you stronger and you ca do cool shit’ kind of amusing. The… six(?)… main girls were kind of cute and the world/story was kind of interesting. I guess. Each episode consisted of some insanely stupid “espionage” thing followed by an action sequence of these ninja girls fucking people/robots up. The training arc went maybe a little too long and the MCs self doubt got a bit grating. There was a werid side plot involving a viking girl which was funny (in the sense that the viking girl had wiped out an entire branch of the secret spy agency and no-one noticed) and there identify of the traitor was a bit of a suprise… as were the consenquences of their revelation as a traitor. This is 100% the sort of show to watch while making dinner or doing homework- you can stop watching for minutes at a time and not be confused about what’s going on when you come back.

SSSS.GRIDMAN- I have no love for the Gridman franchise. I have never seen SSSS.Gridmanany other parts of it. The only reason I watched this was becuase it was Mech vs Kaiju fights. And there was a weird amount of discussion over how “thicc” the main female character was. To be frank the show was garbage. It looked pretty but reused footage way too often, had fairly cookie character characters and the story was pretty uninspired. Typical villian-of-the-week mostly with a weird redemption arc (or two?) in a longer story towards the end. And the thicc girl was basiclaly always shot from the wasit up so that was a complete waste of time on everyone’s behalf. I guess this show was like a DCEU movie but unlike DCEU it chickened out and didn’t committ to weirdly sexualising its female characters. So a good show to watch if you like a pretty, trainwreck you don’t need to devote brain space to.

Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-san– cute girls doing cute things, but two of those girlsTonari no Kyuuketsuki-san are 300+ year old vampires. A yuri vampire slice of life. A fairly funny if fogettable show, each of the four characters fit a fairly standard mold and the episodic nature of the epsiodes meant that if a storyline didn’t really work, it was gone pretty soon. For example the werid doll stuff. Most unrealistic thing was the the MC’s (a like, ~14 year old girl) parents were happy to let her move out of home and in with another 14 year old girls (one of the 300) old vampires) without parental supervision.  Some of the gags around a 300+ year old vampire being a massive otaku were pretty funny- her coffin full of body pillows, her insistence that the only people posting to forums at 3am must also be vampires who don’t need sleep etc. I kind of switched off towards the end of the series but it a decent show to chuck on if you’re bored and don’t want to think too deeply.

Otona no Bouguya-san– was a fairly Otona no Bouguya-sanforgettable short about a fantasy world shop selling female armour i.e. sexy armour. Each epsiode had a laugh or two and they run short so that was fine. Nothing really of interest. It relied too much on the premise in ealr eposides and then had a really bad crack at a story in the later episodes. It was fine though. Good to watch while brushing your teeth.


Dissappointing Shows

For some reason I thought these shows would be great but turns out I was wrong.

Goblin Slayer– despite all the bullshit press coverage, episode 1 of this show Goblin Slayerwas fantastic. It did a great job estabishing the characters, the world and the tone of this very grimdark fantasy world. However it didn’t live up to that setting and, through a combination of righteous backlash and the fact the manga also does this, quickly regressed to being a typical fantasy world show. Look, rape is fucked. I know that. You know that. We all know that. So the way Goblin Slayer used rape to show just how fucked the world was isn’t inherently a problem. What is a problem is that completely disregarded being an actually edgy grimdark story- what was an awesome exercise in world building was turned an oggensivel egregious use of rape to shock people into paying attention. The manga regressed into medicrity a bit less abruptly from what I’ve seen but the anime glosses over the other sharp edges in the story pretty much entirely. Ultimately ending with a stock standard fight of misc adventurers fighting off a few waves of attacking goblins. Ugh. Was also kind of funny that they killed a Beholder with a sack of flour.  If you’re a fan of D&D and being a murder-hobo this show is probably worth watching btu otherwise there’s more interesting stuff out there.

Uchi no Maid ga Uzasugiru!- I cannot for the life of me figure out why I thought Uchi no Maid ga Uzasugiru!this would be good. If you gender swap the adult character it’s just flat out pedophilia. It had a few funny gags buried amongst garbage that somehow kept me going. Somehow. I don’t know how. Don’t watch this. It doesn’t even explain why the MC has a fucking eyepatch after serving in the JSDF. Ugh. I’m not even sure if any of the characters have any worthwhile growth. The side characters are partiucalry aggravating, epseiclaly the Maid’s ex-JSDF commander who’s a massive masochist for no reason. And the young loli girls friends, parituclarly the “popular” one who keeps challenging her to fights. Oh and there’s a super contrived ‘big drama’ event at the end of the series that is not even based on a plausible misunderstanding, it’s just based on characters being incoherent. So dumb. Don’t watch.

Dropped Shows

Everything prior were shows I watched entirely. Any other Fall 2018 anime was bad. But here are some particualrly egregious examples of bad-ness which make it hard to be an anime fan and also have people’s respect. Or are just things that weren’t for me (a person with a full time job and decent taste)

Conception- the plot of this show is a bland MC having to fuck 12 girls who match the star signs to save the world. Starting with the cousin who is also pregant through immaculate conception. This show is almost literal cancer.

Bakumatsu- some weird bishi samurai displaced into an alternative era show. A plot point of the opening ep is how one guy uses a really big sword. I don’t remember anything else. Not my cup of tea.

Sono Toki, Kanojo wa- this wasn’t anime. It was a bunch of poorly drawn still images with naration put to it.

Akanesasu Shoujo- something about a crystal radio connecting different worlds and girls fighting monsters. Possibly some interacting-with-other-versions-of-yourself-who-have-a-really-fucked-life.  Found it quite boring.

Anime Yell!- sports anime where the sport is cheerleading and the art/animation are a bit weirder/simpler than they initially seem.

Dakaretai Otoko 1-i ni Odosarete Imasu- one sexy hot male model blackmails another sexy hot mail model into a relationship. I think. Which might be the plot of one of the Zoolander movies. Again, not my cup of tea but I suppose I can see it appealing to specific demograhics.

Double Decker! Doug and Kirill- Tiger and Bunny is a fantastic show. This is a poor sort-of-prequel that tries to cash in on the buddy cop dynamic but completly fucks it up. Go watch Tiger and Bunny instead.

Frankenstein Family- a fairly generic/boring show across the board, supplmented by a large amount of in studio interviews with the people who were making the show. I guess it’d be good to watch if you want to work in the industry and get some insights into the production of anime.

Gaikotsu Shoten’in Honda-san- a fantatsic 2-3 minute short anime strecthed into 15 minute epsiodes of subpar mediocrity.

Gakuen Basara- quite possibly the worst adaption of the warring states characters. This time the historical figures are all delinquents in highschool gangs! Or soemthing.

Himote House- oh godm the CG, it burns! This is the type of show that makes it hard to argue having CG in anime is ok/can be beneficial.

Hinomaru Sumo- a sports anime about sumo. Featuring a lot of delinquents (at least in episode 1) and a MC who’s main characteristic is that he is small. Not a sport I care for and the over the top dumbness makes it a worse verion of Kuroko no Basuke.

Jingai-san no Yome- I dont understand. Why is the male highschool student this weird fluff creature’s wife? He is very clarly male and very clearly a wife. What?

Karakuri Circus- I dunno. Some people have told me this good. It’s a fairly generic shounen but this one is set in the circus rather than with ninja/pirates/magicians. Whatever floats your boat?

En Ken – Aoki Kagayaki- I think this was a Chinese production. Probably towards the better end of that genre of anime but yet to crack into ‘good’. It had a lot of interesting elements but fuck it was a poorly paced, confusing mess without the best art/animation. Maybe next time China.

Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet- Romeo and Juliet but in this version the two groups have about four different characteristics that splot them- nationality, colour, animal, direction on compass, preferred form of government. You know, the usual.

Kitsune no Koe- continuing the trend that any anime about music is bad.

Muhyo to Rouji no Mahouritsu Soudan Jimusho- a boring supernatural/detective agency show. Just watch Mob Psycho 100 instead.

Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai- further showcasing the horrors of animes deepest depths, in this one the MCs little sister is a perfect human who loves him (too much) and wrote a super successful manga about a girl who loves her older brother. And the MC has to pretend to be the author and thus gets fawned on by a harem of terribly an dinconcstently drawn one dimensional “characters”. Fucking hell Japan.

Radiant- a genera wizard shounen. Like Black Clover, maybe less yelling. Equally as bad.

RErideD – Tokigoe no Derrida- further proof that Steinsgate was a massive fluke. This weird time travel, robot apoclypse, greedy corpoation show by the Steins;gate… creator? (writer? director?) was boring and bad. And super fucking contrived all through ep 1 to try set up the nonsensical “story”.

Sora to Umi no Aida- five(ish) young girls fight against the patricachal system of space whaling. Fuck off.

Ulysses – Jeanne d’Arc to Renkin no Kishi– you think Japan only fucks up adapting their own historicla events? Have you heard of the 100 year wat? Well imagine every one of the main people is a cute young girl who wants to fuck (I mean, be friends with) Montmorency (who’s based on Bluebeard). Also there are fairies who all look like kids toys except one who looks like a dominatrix and is the one who accompanies our “hero”. Fucking hell Japan.

Zombieland Saga- an idol show not as bad as that Yakuza Idol show from a season or two earlier. It had a fantastic opening bit then went down hill into, well, generic idol bullshit. I’m told the rap/hiphop at the end of ep2 was great but I disagree. Am also told there is a big emotional reveal about why the MC is one of the zombies (given she is the only non-idol) but I don’t really care.

Devidol- an idol show that was as bad as that yakuza one, however while that was just an incredibly fucked concept, this one is a minorly fucked concept and incredibly fucked CGI.

Bonus Stuff

Here’s some other random anime stuff I’ve finshed recently:

SAO 2- with SAO 3 starting this season, it seems the perfect time to finish S2. However I don’t care about watching what’s popular anymore, only stuff I like/think I like. More to the point, I got a new laptop and needed to transfer files off my old one. So I decided to give up on FFF fansubs and just watch the final arc of S2 with official subs. It was boring. Introducing a random character who is magically better that Kirito (maybe) and then killing her with cancer or something was presumably a nice emotional moment for fans. But I don’t care about the characters.

Attack on Titan S3- I don’t actually know if I finished this show. I think the blonde girl is Queen (Krista?) and there was some shit about undergound crystal caves. As with SAO S2, I just wanted to clear up space on my computer. This show is bad and you should be dissappointed/angry at how its ended up being so bad.

Steinsgate 0- I finished it and also have watched half of the extra OVA episode. I was pleasantly surpised with the ending/final arc. The show definetely sucked in the middle chunk but with a solid opening and ending story it was worth the watch. OVA is just a waste of time. And it’s nowhere near as good as the original. But I guess it’s a fun journey back into that universe.


Summer 2018 Anime Review

It felt like I watched very few shows this season, so looking back at what I had apparently watched was quite a surprise. Here’s some thoughts:

Finished/Watched Shows

Grand Blue: Probably the closest thing to a stand out anime this season, a slice-of-life based at a university rather than a high school was refreshing. Sure the jokes were repetitive and there was a weird semi-plot line about kind-of-romance between cousins; but it was a fun show to chuck on and laugh at without thinking too much. Also seeing sexual themes outside of hentai and reasonably realistic alcohol consumption was cool.

Overlord S3: A better ratio of “boring-exposition-filler-with-stupid-characters” to “actually-interesting-story-and-world-development” episodes compared to S2. Perhaps not as good as S1 but still overall some really solid development of characters and story and even some world building. Credit where credit is due- some of the pay off in this season does depend on characters and story that were in “bad episodes” in S2. Have yet to watch the finale so it could shit the best but was overall an enjoyable series overall this season. I particularly liked the stuff actually dealing with the Tomb of Nazarick and it’s interactions with  the surrounding nations.

Hanebado: This was a solidly fine series. As with all sports series, it will never be as amazing as Haikyuu!! so it has to find an interesting take on the sports genre since it can’t have the best. In Hanebado, that ‘interesting take’ is that the MC is a psychologically fucked girl who has no feelings for other humans and once they are forced to play badminton, they break and become a maniac who brutally toys with and crushes everyone they play. The timing of the reveal is good because at about episode 6 the show is a super generic sports anime… and then this girl goes fucking insane. Which carries through enough interest as everyone else fails to understand the monster they have unleashed.

Boku no Hero Academia S3: I am officially over this show. There was a really great part in the middle where the plot actually progressed and characters/world had to deal with the fall out of what was happening. But the start and end were boring tied-to-the-progression-of-a-school-year bits. Plus a few very clumsy attempts to shoe horn in plugs for the new movie. But seriously- the whole world/society is grappling with the concept that their previous system/symbol of justice and law and order (All Might) is gone and the Villains are coordinating… and we’re seeing shit about the kids going on Summer Camp (which is shockingly attacked by Villains) and going for the equivalent of a Drivers License so they can do work experience. Also the incredibly patronising way the show reminds the viewer of every fucking heroes’ fucking name and fucking superpower whenever their face is on screen. This is fucking season 3. I know who the characters are and what they do. All you are doing is annoying me and reminding me how fucking unbalanced these bloody super powers are. I was offered free tickets to go see the movie in cinemas and I turned them down because fuck that.

Happy Sugar Life: This was a mixed bag anime. It had a heap of interesting potential based on the first episode of this clearly crackpot girl trying live her crazed fantasy and murder anyone who got in her way without breaking the illusion of her being an normal high school girl.  But from episode 2 onwards every new character introduced turned out to be equally fucked up which made all the characters overall less interesting. that being said, the way the story panned out in the last couple episodes wasn’t what i was expecting which was pleasant. A surprisingly gory and dark show even given the premise, would recommend people check it out but not a high priority

Hyakuren no Haou to Seiyaku no Valkyria: My god this was a horrifically bad show. Offensively so. The idea of a normal guy being taken into a battle world and using his phone’s internet search ability to climb to power and gather a harem is super original. The only original part of this show was the fact it somehow thought it would get a sequel and spent the last episode doing stupid filler rather than actually resolving the big cliff hanger battle. With it ending as the MC rode off to the final big battle. At least it had a diverse cast in the harem including an occasionally funny comedic duo of sisters.

Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu: This show started interesting… if you could get over the obsene fan service. It provided an interesting fill in whiel Overlord S3 had a shaky start. And then when Ovelrod 3 got really good, this got even dumber. I found the ebst way to watch it was to skip the 2/3 of each episode that was exposition/plot or “plot” and just watch the fairly interesting battles.

One Room S2: I loved the first four episodes which featured the same heroine as part of S1. Because she was the best heroine in S1. Then the other two heroines were uninteresting and boring.

Shichisei no Subaru: I have no clue how I watched this the whole thing. It was so generic and lame. The only thing of note here is that the conceit of the show is that the main girl literally died five years ago while playing an VR-MMORPG and her mind was somehow trapped in the game. So the heroes need to find out how to free here. And then at the end of the series…. that hasn’t changed. Despite the big celebration vibe and how everyone is now super happy because they beat the villain and the hero group is reunited and ready to play the game more.

Steins;Gate 0: I’m a bit torn on this one. There was an amazing stretch of episodes in the early-mid section with big reveals and twists and fall out and emotions. But overall the shows not been anywhere near as good as the original. Which is admittedly a fucking hard act to follow. I’m still about 5 or 6 episodes short of finishing it so will see how it pans out. The original smashed the home run out of the park so hopefully this version will too.

Shingeki no Kyojin S3: I don’t enjoy this show. I know that the manga/story is insane and bad and does not live up to the hype/set up of the beginning of the series. But this is so ingrained int the anime discourse that I’m obliged to at least half watch it while playing games on my Switch. It’s vaguely interesting I suppose.

Started and Dropped (typically dropped after 3 eps):

Island: Fuck this show was a mess. I was hoping for another Star Driver given episode 1 was a fucking beat for beat rip off of the concept… minus the cool robots. Perhaps the most interesting thing that happened was there was a semi on camera sex scene at the end of ep 9 or 10 (I dropped it before this point so i’m not sure) which, I think, meant the MC had been hooking up with his daughter in earlier episodes. Because it turned out there was time travel involved. Ugh.

Harukana Receive: Haikyuu!! is about volleyball and is a fucking amazing show? take that concept and put it on a beach with a bunch of pretty girls of a variety of shapes (well, most of them have big tits) in skimpy bikinis. What can go wrong? Everything. So boring. not great animation. Really flat characters (as in, flat personality wise). Repetitive “jokes”.

Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes: A vaguely interesting concept- anime Antiques Roadshow with some not-subtle-Sherlock-Holmes-ripoff elements. But man it wore thing very quickly.

Aguu Tensai Ningyou: what started as an interesting art style and story/world very quickly become not that. Some of the visuals were uncomfortable to watch but not in a good way. What could have been an interesting psychological thriller became a generic action battle thing. Yawn.

Angolmois – Genkou Kassenk: An odd art/animation style and a weird mismatch of ‘realism’ and ‘clearly not realism’ made this interesting concept for a show (Japan’s historical fighting off the Mongol invasion) a wasted opportunity. At least it wasn’t set in the Sengoku period like every other historical anime.

Hataraku Saibou: it’s a kids show that is kind of meant to be educational (maybe) but loses a lot of it’s accuracy for “story” convenience. Which is fine. But the eccentric yet flat and non-developing characters ran it’s course in a few episodes. Also trying to pass off cancer as a misunderstood emo is fucked up Japan. Cancer is a horrific disease and does not deserve sympathy.

Satsuriku no Tenshi: yawn

Planet With: Eh I dunno with this one. I watched maybe 6 eps and then just stopped. Story was a bit weird but not in a good way. Animation was flashy but not in a god way.  Go watch Gurren Lagann instead.

Back Street Girls – Gokudolls: Wow. What a mess of a concept and a mess of a show. Watched three episodes and then was saved from having to question myself about possibly enjoying it because the sub group dropped it on account if it being a crime against humanity.

Banana Fish: Was fine. I guess. Meh. Pretty child sex victim takes on the Mafia coz they have a drug that fucked up his brother in The War. And there’s a cute Japanese boy there at the same time for reasons for romantic plot.

High Score Girl: Meh. Yawn. Whatever. Terrible art style.

Tenrou Sirius the Jaeger: The Vampire Bandwagon collapsed like a decade ago. Move on.

Iya na Kao Sare Nagara Opantsu Misete Moraitai: I deny watching this. you can’t prove anything.

Anything else this season was so shit it didn’t even make it to three episodes and thus is not worth rating/talking about. And given fucking Goku Dolls DID make it, that should tell you how bad they were.


Marchen Madchen: realised I’d watched 8 episodes and the series only went 10 so thought I’d finish it. Only to find it didn’t finish. And in fact had some of the worst animation I;d ever seen. After some brief digging, I found this amazing dissection of the fucked production that was this series. And boy is it fucked.

Masamune-kun no Revenge: This had been sitting partially watched on my computer for ages. but I finally acknowledged that FanSubs are dead, DDY are never going to finish this and I might as well watch official subs to finish it. It was a solid 7/10 show with a bunch of dumb twists to pad out the back end to prevent any actual resolution occurring.

Saredo Tsumibito wa Ryuu to Odoru: A left over form last season that i thought was ok based on the first 3 eps but didn’t get around to watching. After watching two more eps and I firmly disagree with myself from three month ago. Anime about politics are great when done well. And shit when done like this.

Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan: I don’t know what the fuck this was or why it happened. There was apparently a 45 second promo in 2012 and then nothing until this appeared in July 2018. And it was weirdly promoted by a lot of family friendly anime distributors despite it content. A b grade horror movie given anime form- unnecessary nudity, terrible action, lots of blood and gore, “characters”, “story” etc. Months later I still don’t know what to think. Maybe it’s actually a comedy.

Seitokai Yakuindomo Movie: I forgot how much i loved this show. In fact i was worried that given how long it has been since this show started a) my tastes would have changed and b) the jokes wouldn’t really hold up. i was pleasantly wrong. Very funny. Very good. But is less a “movie’ and more a long OVA.

Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch I – Koudou: I’ve been itching to rewatch Code Geass for… well… years and the recap movies seemed a good way to do that without the same time investment as watching 50 episodes of a TV series. I was pleasantly surprised at how good the movie was at condensing the plot down and not feeling rushed… aside for a 10 minute towards the very end where it seemed super erratic and confusing. But it scratched that itch and I’m keen to see the rest of the recap movies and then jump into the new movie/season when it comes out.

GAMMA.CON 2018 (and Wintercon 2018) Review

Being a Canberra boy (well, more-or-less) I have a bit of a soft spot for our local conventions. Given they don’t cost any money for me to go to, are within 20 minutes driving distance of my house (with ample parking) and have by far the largest number of my friends/acquaintances in attendance; it’s a pretty low bar for me to be impressed.

Well, it’s still a high bar as I’m a cynical jackass who doesn’t have positive feelings but attending an interstate event is much more of a hassle and thus primes me to expect more (and thus be disappointed more).

So in the last month I had the pleasure of attending both GAMMA.CON 2018 and Wintercon 2018. Two very different events here in the nation’s capital.

Lets get Wintercon out of the way first- it’s a garbage event that should not be called a “convention”. At best it’s a glorified games day. Tabletop gaming is fun and the full Cancon event run by the Canberra Games Society is somewhat bearable but fuck me is Wintercon garbage. No panels, no events, half a dozen traders (literallly). Nothing that wasn’t tabletop based (not even any role playing stuff like D&D I could see) and not a wide variety of table top stuff. I get that this is a fundraising venture for Cancon but falsely labelling this as a convention is an insult. I was there for about 2 minutes- walked in the door, realised there was nothing to do, realised I couldn’t even buy any miniatures/figures to use in D&D, looked at some misc dice and then left.

GAMMA.CON 2018 however, was a pretty good event. Which given some of the behind the scenes organisational stuff that was going on was a surprise.


GAMMA.CON 2018- 7/10 (Wintercon- 0/10)

The move from AIS to EPIC was done perhaps a year too early but GAMMA.CON made pretty good use of the space. In particular the “gaming hall” was great. The “Stage and Trader Hall” was fine but it somehow managed to feel way too crowded up one end and way too empty at the other. The positioning of the panel rooms as literally the first thing when you walked in was great given how hard to make people go to panels- for some reason people struggle to find the rooms and they are typically mostly empty.

i mean, that definietely has nothing to do with the panel content and just the venue yeah? And that’s why you have hepas of signage and great maps so attendees know where everything is right?

Lol get fucked.

I mean, the idea of styling your map on the old school Super Mario and Legend of Zelda maps/layouts was great. However it completely lacks any functionality- it’s hard to read, does not give an accurate gauge of how much space different areas give to each other or how the three different buildings the convention is in relate to each other… or the carpark. I’d say 80% of the map is effectively wasted space. Plus the numbers/labels and the captions/names are too small and in a bad colour and font for reading. Also if you look at the comments you will see a map of the Arist and Trader area… which is simply wrong (/lying?) because the layout of the green artist tables needs to be rotated 90 degrees to match how they were actually set up.

As an aside, names like “Gaming hall” are ones I’ve just invented on account of the garbage venue maps provided in the booklet being completely useless and factually wrong in multiple points. Unless you were actually there it’s nigh impossible for me to describe the set up based on these “maps”.

Was hoping that these maps were just decorative and actual ones would be provided in the program booklet and at the venue. No such luck. Even the volunteers who I asked for directions were pretty unimpressed with the maps and the only way you could find where anything was was to literally walk the whole venue to see yourself… which was hard when you didn’t know how far the venue extended.

Speaking of the program booklet; equally as bad as the maps. Rather than having a map in the double page spread in the middle of the book, it was one of the (also poorly designed) posters. The map sections were split across several pages on either side of the poster. As was the schedule.. which looked like a super basic excel table that was full of typos and errors. The only way to know what was actually on in a panel room or the screenings was to walk in and find out. Very hard to schedule. Also even the way the different schedules were displayed next to each other made no sense. (I’ll try to dig up a photo of the booklet to show what I mean.  But after weeks of chasing down a copy everyone I know threw away their copies)

That being said, the panel and screening schedule were pretty uninteresting. Too much seemed to hinge on uninteresting guests doing uninteresting topics. I only bothered going to three panels:

1) Turtle-Boy Podcast Live. This was surprisingly great. Have no clue what this podcast was about and I only went as there was nothing else on that I wanted to do. Was like 4 people in the audience and it became a really fun interactive thing of us building a hypothetical expanded cinematic universe featuring the Ninja Turtles to see what sort of problems could arise and how they could be prevented or solved.

2) The Movie Club: Hammer Time. A really informative and interesting discussion about the classic Hammer Horror stuff of the 1950s-1970s. I’m not a fan of horror and knew nothing about this topic but I found it a really good panel. (Again, only went due to nothing else of interest being on)

3) Girls Und Panzer Der Panel. With a tagline of ‘why is Girls Und Panzer Der so good’, I falsely assumed that was tongue in cheek and going to talk about why it was a bad anime (in terms of both concept and production/delivery). But no. A disappointing panel.

Speaking of disappointing- didn’t bother walking into the Screenings Room. Aside from all the non-screening content in there, nothing save ‘Land of the Giants’ seemed remotely interesting. All generic stuff or stuff I’d seen recently. Gone are the days when underappreciated gems would pop up in a screening room.

The panels/screenings were also super poorly set up. The two panel streams were set up to run in the same room separated by a nice black, thin and semi-transparent curtain. So noise pollution was very bad between them. Meanwhile the screening room (which had as many panels/workshops as screenings) was separated by the art room by an equally flimsy curtain. Fortunately the art room didn’t have much noise pollution… it was just really fucking dark and so hard to do any art stuff as the lights were off for the screenings. It seemed to be something that was not well thought out… or perhaps the best solution to a bad venue situation?

Oh and both panel rooms (well, half rooms) had fancy names. So you’d assume there’d be super prominent signage telling you which one is which right? Nah. Signage is for losers

The stuff in the “gaming hall” was pretty good- an eSports stage and a tournament stage down one end (with speakers angled to direct noise pollution into just that end), free play consoles of a whole bunch of old consoles (only criticism is it seemed very similar to previous years), the Restrospekt Videogame Museum (which looked great but I was soft-banned from it on account of my talent of accidentally breaking gaming consoles), freeplay pinball machines (possibly the single best highlight of the whole convention for the Terminator 2 pinball machine), some freeplay arcade machines (much better ones than previous years although still no Time Crisis 2), some indie devs (which didn’t look as interesting as previous years- a few repeats and the number of devs/games seemed down), a few traders (which seemed odd- will detail later on), some tabletop gaming (much smaller than previous years) and… wrestling…

Aside from the wrestling, the rest of the stuff was fine to great. But that wrestling… I mean… I know that we all know wrestling is fake but at least some effort to pretend it’s real would be great. Plus the sound was fucking- it was so much louder than it needed to be inside an enclosed space… and the MC microphone was at a different level to the music so it wasn’t even a consistent level of too loud. Plus the wrestling was happening for like… 15% of the convention? So otherwise the corner was a big chunk of dead space. With a whole bunch of chairs lined up next to it in rows that faced a blank wall rather than the stage… for some reason…

Also near the end of day 1 of the convention I the upstairs part of the event was connected to the “gaming hall”. You know, because the maps really didn’t make it clear. And the only staircase was near the secondary exit to the venue. It has some D&D sessions happening (cool) and then a ‘Cosplay HQ’ for cosplayers to hang out and do stuff (yawn). Nothing more to really add on either of those.

The other main hall- the ‘trader/stage hall’ was a bit more problematic. For one thing, there were about 110-120 ‘artists’ selling stuff. (I put ‘artists’ in quotation marks simply because of the sheer variety of things being sold here that aren’t technically “art” so I’m not sure if the term is appropriate). Given how disappointed I was with the variety of art at SMASH 2018, it’s probably no surprise that GAMMA 2018’s Artist Alley was pretty disappointing in terms of both variety and quality.

But quantity is the thing I want to touch on here as it’s the only thing that the event really has any input on. GAMMA.CON 2017 had ~5000 attendees and maybe 50-60 artists. This year’s GAMMA had ~6200 attendees. So you can see an issue here. Approximately double the number of ‘artists’ but nowhere near that amount of extra attendees.

Of note is that the Exhibitor numbers were down compared to last year. in 2017 there were probably 35-40. This year there was probably 20-25 this year. And a lot of the ones this year were new… which means a LOT of the ones last year didn’t come back.

In the very poor/slim amount of pre-event promotion that was done, one of the key lines was how much GAMMA had grown this year; being three times the size it was at AIS. However being frank the event hadn’t filled out AIS (hence my comment earlier that the move to EPIC was probably a year early). Sure the floor space was all being used, but there was so much more room to fit in attendees.

I suspect the blow out in artists numbers had to do with all this extra space needing to be filled. Because the huge increase in people selling things was not matched by a huge increase in people to buy things… so on average everyone will have done less trade than last year. And given how many apparently didn’t come back based on last year… that could be a concern.

If you’ve not done event organising, as an attendee this is bad for you in several ways. Firstly, if the traders don’t do well then they don’t come back and there’s less stuff for you to buy. Secondly, traders don’t buy space from at the convention which goes a notable way to paying the costs of the convention which puts up the cost of a ticket to attend. And lastly they are less likely to sponsor the convention or parts thereof; meaning either/both less money for the convention (again, higher ticket cost) and less cool prizes for competitions. This is of course simplifying a lot of various factors but it gets across the gist of the key parts.

Also- the Exhibitors that were there were pretty disappointing. Literally five different comic shops, plus a book shop, a fudge guy, a few generic pop culture merch sellers. Only two interesting ones were the ‘crazy cat lady’ trader where everything was themed around cats and the lewd ‘’ shop that sold.. well… very lewd things. I was honestly stunned how many people were walking around wearing hoodies depicting an anime girls with rose coloured cheeks and semen all over her proclaiming ‘living lewd’. I would love to see how many of those hoodies ever see the light of day again.

Speaking of lewds, for some fucking reason the official event merch included softcore body pillows of the mascots. Aside from the fact the mascots are teenagers (and so it’s fucked), why would a ‘family friendly’ event put those sort of shit out.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m not a prude. There was the adult GAMMA@Night where selling that sort of thing would be fine (great even)… assuming you aged up the characters to be adults. But selling it from your official merch booth which shirts and pins and shit while kids are running around? Seems like a really poor decision from a PR perspective. Especially when you’re also selling branded shot glasses which were only allowed to be sold at the @Night event…

The Main Stage was pretty disappointing too this year. A lot of music stuff which was either bad (Meri Amber) or background jazz (The Consouls), boring guest junk or cosplay. There was a comedy show but I missed it. i assume it was fine.

i should probably touch on the Guests at this point. Honestly, I don’t know why GAMMA.CON bothered with half of them. I get bringing Spike Spencer as he is… a big shot VA from the USA… I guess. Not that you would know it from like 80% of his activities over the weekend- he seemed to be more like a snake oil salesman trying to sell me (I think) a book on dating advice, something to do with cooking (a website?) and some financial management “strategy”. It seemed really suss. But when you’re main credit is Shinji from Evangelion which is literally 20 years old I guess you need to diversify your talent(s) and income stream(s).

But the rest of the guests were Cosplay Guests. And the difference between what 1-2 Cosplay Guests bring and 4-5 cosplay guests bring is… well.. a waste of money in guest fees. A.K. Wirru is a fucking great bloke but given he was a guest last year is bringing him back straight away really a ‘headline act’. Hayley Elise did a cool thing at GAMMA@Night but who the fuck were the rest of them and how many tickets would they honestly have sold to the convention? (None) And did they bring interesting content (Not that wasn’t being brought by another Cosplay Guest already)

Should add that Ally Mclean no longer does Cosplay and does kind of do other stuff but I dunno whether it really qualifies as headline content. there were perhaps more prestigious/interesting people doing panels who didn’t get guest headline status.

At least GAMMA didn’t get Good Game or some iteration for like, the fifth year in a row. (2014- Junglist, 2015- Goose, 2016- Bajo/Hex, 2017- GGSP Team… kind of lazy guest organisation on behalf of the event repeatedly going to the same place for content).

Oh and the ‘Comic Book Guests’ and the ‘Tabletop Guests’ aren’t really what ‘guests’ mean in the convention scene. They are definitely great and bring awesome content (although a lot of repeats from GAMMA.CON 2017).

I do somewhat sympathise with the organisers. In the era of the big US Comic Cons being chock full of Marvel actors and Star Wars actors and… whatever other pop-culture thing has movies/TV shows happening; many do expect conventions to have “Guests”. But the budgets of these smaller volunteer organisations just can’t compete with the SupaNovas and the OZCC. And there isn’t an easy solution to balance this popular perception/desire with the stark reality of budgets.

The GAMMA@Night event was… unique. Fine. There was an Adults 18+ section and an all ages Neko Nation thing.

Dealing with the latter first, the Neko Nation thing was garbage. Lots of flashing lights and electronic remixes of j-pop and k-pop… with about 0-6 people concurrently dancing in a room with capacity for like 200 for the 4 hour period. It became a recurring gag to walk past the dance party and see how there was no-one there.

The fact you walked past it was a key issue- for some reason @Night was spread across two buildings (excluding Neko Nation) when it really had enough stuff for one building. All of the content was great- the adult video games, the life drawing (yay naked ladies), the pole dancing, the bar.

But there wasn’t enough content or people to fill out two huge halls.

For some reason, the Exhibitor/Artist areas were left open for @Night. So some people could keep selling things… or they could go home and just leave their merchandise unsupervised and at risk of being stolen.

Given only a handful of Traders actually stayed open; a fairly easy solution to to this problem would have been to move the traders in the gaming hall into the main Exhibitor section and then put those who wanted to stay open for @Night into the “Games Hall”. Then just having the Games Hall open for @Night. Move the main stage events to be on the Wrestling Ring/Stage and everything would fit and be better.

Back on the content- there were two things worth highlighting. One good, one bad. The good one was the “Cospole Dancing”. I mean, it was pole dancing with only a handful of cosplay realted things but they were good. The second last pole dance was a comedy one featuring Deadpool and a Unicorn. And then the last dance was Hayley Elise cosplaying Yoko dancing to the Gurren Lagann OP. Very nice.

The bad was a lets play/play through of some of visual novel soft-core porn game. On one hand the game was pretty boring (compared to Hatoful Boyfriend last year). Secondly the people on stage doing the voices were.. well.. less “doing the voices” and more “screeching”. Definitely a misstep for @Night.

So yeah. On balance, GAMMA.CON 2018 was pretty fine in general but the more I think of the details the more the small issues seem to pop up. All up I’d say it was probably a 7/10… which is what I would probably give it every other year I have been. As an attendee nothing is particularly problematic and as long as you don’t expect you’ll meet Stan Lee it’s a fun way to spend the weekend with friends. And if you get bored after a couple hours you can be back home/in bed/at a pub within 20 minutes.

SMASH 2018- TL:DR it was fine but 2019 could be great

For the weekend of August 14th-15th 2018, I got to go to SMASH– the Sydney Manga and Anime Show. Have been to every one of them since… 2014? 2012? Saw them at the old Sydney Convention Centre, Rosehill Gardens and now Sydney’s new ICC. Well, the Exhibition Centre part of the ICC (as opposed to the Convention Centre which I assume the ‘CC’ part of ICC stands for)

As an aside, the ICC is an absolutely garbage venue. It is some modern architecture bullshit of looking cool above any sort of functionality. The signage was non-existent and as SMASH has the joy of being on the top level (Level 4&5), you had to go all the way to one end (the west end?) of the building to slowly rise up the sloping staircases/ramps to find the entrance on the opposite side of the building (the east end)? Because simply having the access at the point where you go into the fucking building is too boring.

The part of the venue SMASH was in suffered from being a multipurpose box- as in it was a giant box that can be used ok for any sort of event and is thus not very good for any type of event. It has dirty scuffed floors, no natural light and this very bleak artificial light which didn’t really look nice. Compared to Rosehill Gardens, which as a racecourse are quite pretty, very disappointing venue.

And as an aside to the aside, the drop in food quality/options/prices in the ICC compared to Rosehill was perhaps the worst thing in the new venue. The food vans at Rosehill and their different options made it easily the best food/drink available at a convention in the country.

Now to talk about the actual event. Which I should preface by saying, despite what follows, was overall a pretty good and fun event.

The primary issue with SMASH was how mostly everything was in the one giant box. This included three separate stages, one of which had bands playing on it, meaning that there was a cacophony of noise all through the room. The sounds was also really bad- I stood in front of the stage watching a pretty good band Wasabi Galaxy and couldn’t hear the vocal. But across the hall (behind a “sound containing wall”) I could still hear the base guitar at the gaming area.

Similarly, when I went to the Screening Area, despite being given aset of ear covering headphones to listen to the screenings I could still hear the sound from the main stage bleeding over. And it wasn’t entertaining sound.

I do give SMASH props for their screening set up though. rather than having this big screen with speakers blaring more noise into the room, you surrendered your pass and were given headphones and a radio receiver. Which then let you listen to whatever was being played and moderate your own volume. Then you returned it when you left and got given your pass back.

Well, got given a pass back. Interestingly SMASH didn’t have weekend passes. If you had a weekend ticket and came on Saturday you were given a day pass and had to then line up again the next day and get a Sunday pass. Amusingly, both of my convention companions forgot to bring their ticket print out on Sunday which caused a small delay in checking in.

But yeah- after watching screenings you just got given back a random day pass. I’d be interested to find out whether this system was designed before or after they decided to not give out weekend passes. Because having a mix of pass types would make the system a complete mess.

I was super pleased with the attendance at the Code Geass screening. Was packed full. Good to see that people appreciate quality anime. Also saw a short movie called HoneyWorks and the first couple eps of FLCL. Will talk about those a bit more in my next anime review post (probably).

In general terms, the screening selection was fine. Which given SMASH’s history, is kind of disappointing. I watched stuff for a few hour chunk Saturday arvo and then had nothing of interest in either of their screening rooms for the rest of the convention.

I suppose the elephant in the room was the ticketing failure on Saturday. As with their previous venue changes, the SMASH homebrew ticketing system died on day 1. This meant that despite opening at 9am, people were still waiting to be let in at 11am. One of my companions had planned to rock up at 9am to get in straight away but myself and the 3rd person convinced them that was dumb. Nonetheless, we rocked up at 11am and still stood in line for an hour.

A fairly obvious solution to this would be allowing people to check in and collect passes on Friday night. Aside from lessening the pressure on the big opening and having some people being able to just walk straight in, it lets them iron out all the kinks in the system. And then have a smooth opening the next morning.

Was a bit salty that the presale line appeared to be moving slower than the on-the-day tickets line. I strongly feel that if someone pre-purchases a ticket they should be let in first. Priority/confirmed access is the whole reason you prepurchase tickets.

And I think that’s important for SMASH- I would speculate that they had a smaller overall floor area at the ICC than they did at Rosehill. On Saturday I reckon they were very much pushing venue capacity, you could barely move through parts of the Hall (especially the Artist Alley) there were so many people.

Also the presence of three stages inside the venue and then nothing on the outside… floor area(?)… was silly. Rather than standing in line being bored for an hour, I should have been standing in line listening to the the bands who were on a stage set up outside. Aside from reducing inside noise pollution, encouraging attendees to get some vitamin D and entertaining the people lined up outside; the music may have attracted more randoms off the street to check out the event. Easy and obvious solution.

Despite the number of stages, I can’t recall much of interest happening at them. SMASH had an oddly high proportion of their events being either Guest related or Cosplay related (or for cosplay guests, both of those things). Guests are always hit and miss depending on if you like what they are associated with (and for me, they were all misses) while Cosplay is largely boring and unentertaining hacks (with a few notable exceptions- AK Wirru is a fucking legend).

Although the bands were good and I did like the MC on that smaller stage (not so much a fan of the MC on the Main Stage).

Annoyingly I didn’t get to any of the AMV events… mainly because I wanted to see how many people were actually going to the AMV events? There were like half a dozen of them and I feel AMVs went out of fashion a decade ago. I’d love to know if people actually went and watched them.

Also there was so much Trivia on. There was a permanent trivia set up down the back of the venue and there was something going practically every hour. Too much. I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to go to and ended up doing none of them. I thought it seemed like a dumb use of space but the handful of times I walked past it it seemed pretty full. So maybe it was good.

I found the Panel and Workshop selection a bit bland. Or pehaps just poorly timed. There was one interesting thing on Saturday- a Mahjong Riichi Workshop where the hosts were well intentioned but clearly unprepared for how popular the workshop would be. it was pretty full and they only had enough Mahjong sets for maybe half the people there. Was still a fun workshop.

The only panel I went to was one by the VA Spike Spencer. Mainly because the last English VA actor I saw do a panel was… some american dude… at Manifest 2013 in Melbourne and there was literally 6 people in the audience. Which was really awkward for everyone (the guest, the audience, the organisers). So I wanted to a) maybe stop that happening or b) relish in it if it happened again.

The panel was fine. I guess. Mainly Spike sharing stories and stuff that i wasn’t interested in. Also a chunk of fawning over his 11 month old kid which i suppose is fair enough. I was bored shitless in the panle but the rest of the audience (which was a couple dozen people) seemed to enjoy it.

The rest of the interesting panels and workshops were all early on Sunday morning. But on account of an awesome football match, my recent introduction by convention friends to Produce 48 and rampant alcoholism; we didn’t go to sleep until about 6am and thus didn’t get to SMASH on the Sunday until about 2pm. Thus all those interesting panels lost out to sleep.

That being said, the Sunday content was overall less interesting than the Saturday stuff. And Saturday wasn’t that interesting. I spent like 2 hours watching 1v1 League of Legends with a buddy explaining to me how the game worked. It was kind of interesting but also very one sided so not super fun to watch.

Did a bit of shopping and… well… was also a bit disappointed by that too. The Artist Alley at SMASH has an international reputation for being great- a lot of people come from overseas to showcase and sell their stuff. But something felt super off about it this year. On hone hand, the yuk venue (bad floor, bad lights) didn’t help. The layout seemed fine objectively (like, everything was spaced out enough and laid out sensibly) but at the same time didn’t seem to work well.

But more so than that, the actually art on sale/display was kind of lame. It took me  a while to figure it out, but a friend observed that everything seemed out of date. Like it was all of stuff from maybe 2-5 years ago. (Alternatively, it seems the only recent franchise covered by the art community was Darling in the FranXX). There was also a huge proportion of people doing ‘their art style of famous characters’ rather than the ’emulation of character original style but mixed up with new people or situations’. More generally, I suspect that after buying stuff at the last few SMASH-es, I’ve emptied the well dry of the artists who do stuff I like.

The Exhibitors were fine. The end of convention sales were great, as was the weird inconsistency in some pricing. I got a Konosuba figure and a Gurren Lagann figure at one store that had them listed as nearly 20% cheaper than two other stores AND THEN got a further end-of-convention discount.

This was a very big year for SMASH. As volunteer events struggle across the country (and the commercial ones too), they needed to firmly establish themselves as the Sydney event… especially with the recent confirmation that MadFest is coming to Sydney in 2019. There were also a few rumours of financial issues due to the ICC being a horrifically expensive venue (as well as just a horrific venue).

Taking a step back from my insider knowledge/experience from conventions (which leads me to focus on how things were bad/could be better rather than what was good); I think SMASH have done a pretty good job at the end of the day. Given the situation they were in with the rumours of MadFest, they had to move away from the superior Rosehill to cement them as the Sydney event. Most of the issues were the teething ones of a new venue and should be resolved for the next one. And judging by the packed attendance they should be financially solid for at least one more year (unless there has been some horrific financial mismanagement).

But they need to need to decide if they are going to stick with their market differentiation of Japanese culture or go the broader ‘pop culture’ angle. (Personally, I like their Japanese focus compared to Supanova and Oz Comic Con). League of Legends isn’t a Japanese game and while Indie Devs are cool, they are also not Japanese. They don’t really belong. I think embracing gaming is a must; but Japan is incredibly prolific with their own games and systems so the focus should be on those. And the over reliance on B-level guests and cosplay rubbish (particularly in their panel/workshop areas) is a missed opportunity. Filling that stuff with a broad range of (Japan focused) community stuff makes the event way more interesting and opens the event to attendance by a larger number of people.

In summary:

SMASH 2018- 7/10… but for potential for a 9.5/10 in 2019.

TV & Movie recap-May/June 2018

Here’s some random things that I’ve watched over recent months and some thoughts.

Also should have a few event reviews in the next couple months if things go well!


Solo: A Star Wars Story- An unexpectedly fun movie. After the various issues with basically every other Star Wars movie in the Disney Era, particularly the Last Jedi, and with all the production problems with Solo (and just the fact that this movie was not necessary) I had super low expectations. But it was a really fun movie. I really liked the unexpected ways they fleshed out bits and pieces of the Han Solo mythos and while there were problems with other bits; the only major change i would make is switching out a character reveal near the end from being *character* to being maybe Thrawn.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom- not very good. Wasn’t a big fan of Jurassic World but it was fine. This one… not so much. The plot armour and plot conveniences were a bit much. In one scene a dinosaur escapes though dumb circumstances (what a surprise) and ends up in a position where it could just run out into a forest chasing fleeing humans. instead it climbs on top of a mansion and then hangs upside down from the room to open a door on a balcony that happens to be the exact right room to find the main child character. Also a big decision happens at the end of the movie that undoubtedly results in the deaths of hundreds or thousands of people, if not more, for effectively no reason…

Oceans 8- love a good heist movie. While perhaps not as good as my nostalgic memories of the Oceans Eleven/Twelve/Thirteen movies, this was a fun ride. Also Anne Hathaway is a gorgeous human being. And the world of fashion is fucking terrifying.

Deadpool 2- it was fine. More of the same of the first with a few other one liner style jokes through out it. The commentary calling out the sexism of the X-Men via the formation of X-Force was pretty funny. Perhaps a bit forgettable, but I’d say the first one was too.

Avengers Infinity War: was fine. A solid 6/10 like basically every other Marvel movie. Jumped around a bit too much (relying on prior knowledge to fill in the gaps) and the villains henchmen army had real inconsistent levels of strength (I don’t care how powerful Wakanda tech is, regular people fighting them in hand-to-hand combat should have been massacred given the superheroes were barely holding their own). Also they chose the people to kill at the end poorly; too many of them are too essentially to and/or confirmed for future movies that they clearly aren’t permanently dead. my money is on Gamora being one of the few who doesn’t come back.


Games of Thrones S2- continuing to follow along with Arya Talking to Me, smashed through S2 of Game of Thrones. While I enjoyed bits and pieces and particular scenes, most of this was me going “Oh I remember this in the book. And how this character dies and this entire plot line is irrelevant” *cough cough* Renly, Robb *cough cough*. The improving budget was good though. And the Battle of Blackwater episodes was extremely well made.

Bachelor in Paradise AU- was not a fan by the end of the season. Like the game mechanic was a bit fuzzy and there wasn’t a satifying “end point” for the show or its storylines. Seemed to just be really random and not planned out.

Survivor US Season 36- was a solid season in the end but some of the editing seemed to really show the hand of production; with a focus on these “big plays”, especially with idols, with a lot of implications of important stuff happening on the island affecting long term decisions being cut from the broadcast to hype up that weeks episode. The Final Council was particularly bad with some Jury members seeming to have literally no contribution.

Love Island AU- fuck this show is pure garbage. it is apparently a game show but I have no idea how anyone “wins”. At least Bachelor has the veneer of legitimacy in it’s “looking for love” thing and active activities. This is just people sitting around a bit villa with nothing happening at all.

Avatar The Last Airbender- after being disappointed by Legend of Korra, was hesitant to rewatch this show. Season 1 was a bit wobbly and I fast forwarded it through several parts. Season 2 was excellent, especially when Toph was brought in and from about halfway though Season 2 all the way up to 3/4 of the way through Season 3 was a non stop emotional roller coaster of joy and sadness (but like, good sadness). There were a few wobbly episodes leading up to the big four part finale but man that finale was amazing. Such a great show. And Iroh is such an awesome character